The Hunt Review
Director: Craig Zobel
Starring: Betty Gilpin, Ike Barinholtz, Emma Roberts, Justin Hartley, Glenn Howerton and Hilary Swank
I’ve been thinking a lot about Blumhouse Pictures and Universal Pictures’ new horror/black comedy movie, The Hunt ever since watching the thing.
It’s such a strange movie that I found myself sitting in my seat in the cinema for about a minute after the credits had rolled thinking: “What on Earth did I just watch!?”
That makes it sound like The Hunt is a shocking piece of cinema, which might be giving the movie a bit too much credit.
It’s been described by some as Battle Royale meets The Hunger Games via Get Out, which I think is over-egging it slightly.
Let’s begin by making it perfectly clear, The Hunt shouldn’t be mentioned in the same sentence as any of those movies.
It’s not bad, but it’s by no means as good as any of those films which I think will go down in history as some of the best horror-based movies ever made.
The Hunt is the second best movie called The Hunt
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One of the best things you can say about this new Blumhouse movie is that it’s the second-best movie I’ve watched called The Hunt.
2012’s The Hunt (called Jagten in Denmark), directed by Thomas Vinterberg and starring Mads Mikkelsen, is a much much better film.
This film’s plot is pretty simple really and something we’ve seen time and time again on the big screen.
Twelve strangers, referred to as ‘deplorables’ in the movie, wake up in the woods and discover that they are being hunted as part of a sick game designed for rich elites.
However, there’s a twist to this ‘Battle Royale’ style movie. These rich elites, rather than being your traditional conservatives are actually left-wing ‘nutjobs’.
The film was written by Damon Lindelof and Nick Cuse and it almost feels as if they thought of this idea and weren’t really able to go beyond that point.
What this means is that The Hunt is just a rather interesting idea without any real substance.
It was based on a book called The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell, yet I haven’t read it yet so I can’t comment on how the film stacks up to the source material.
The Hunt stars the likes of Betty Gilpin, Ike Barinholtz, Emma Roberts, Justin Hartley, Glenn Howerton and Hilary Swank and the cast is really good.
Gilpin is especially good as Crystal. She really does shine in this role and I’d love to see her do more action-based stuff in the future.
The Hunt feels rather empty
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However, there’s not much else to latch onto in the movie because it’s more concerned with shocking the viewer rather than focusing on story development.
This might be the film’s biggest flaw. I was constantly thinking that its writers and director couldn’t stop congratulating themselves on how clever they’d been.
It ends up getting rather frustrating when they make yet another joke in the film about how they’ve turned the genre on its head politically.
Fundamentally, I do like the fact that it’s the left-leaning characters who are the bad guys here, however, the message ends up being rather muddled.
The people they end up hunting are still portrayed as being right-wing ‘idiots’ and there’s a reveal towards the end of the movie which drives home that point.
Perhaps Lindelof and Cuse were trying to say that both sides are just as bad as one another, but it didn’t end up coming off that way.
I can’t really review this film without talking about all the controversy surrounding it.
The Hunt was delayed following the shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Pason, Texas.
It had also been heavily criticised in the US due to its supposed negative depiction of Donald Trump supporters.
After having seen the movie, I can sort of understand why people felt it should have been delayed.
The Hunt would have made an interesting episode of Black Mirror
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That said, the violence is very over-the-top and obviously done for laughs that people shouldn’t have taken the film so seriously.
It was originally going to be released on September 27th, yet Universal Pictures decided to push it to March.
I don’t think The Hunt is the sort of film which should make people upset.
It’s so clearly a satire on the genre and what’s going on politically in the US.
It feels more like a rather gory episode of Black Mirror rather than a Hollywood movie.
It’s also rather short, which I appreciated. Yet, it made me wonder whether Universal and Blumhouse decided to cut certain scenes from the movie.
All in all, The Hunt is perfectly serviceable yet I couldn’t help but feel disappointed by it.
It’s a bit like a chocolate éclair with the filling taken out of it. It felt a bit hollow and tasteless.
There was the kernel of a truly great movie there, but it lacked any real substance.
The Hunt will be in cinemas in the UK on March 11th, 2020.
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