“The Hunt” – Movie Review

It was the film that people didn’t want you to see, or at least that’s how it was advertised for its postponed release date. Perhaps the best way to describe The Hunt would be spectacularly brutal and incredibly bizarre, but in a fun way.

Was this action/horror bloodbath worth the wait, or was this whole controversy just overblown?! Let’s take a deeper look at The Hunt, and find out!

Minor Spoilers

The Purge Meets Kill Bill
Opening with a series of text messages regarding “The Manor”, the film takes us to a luxurious private plane in which rich elites are flying to an undisclosed location, along with their prey, who are drugged and asleep in storage.

Upon waking up, the group of alleged rednecks find themselves in an open field with gags in their mouths. They find a box containing firearms and other weapons, only to get shot at seconds later.

From the distance arrows and bullets fly towards them, as they evade land mines, and other traps, soon discovering that they are being hunted for sport.

It begins a lot like Hunger Games, but moves from this setting very quickly.

What follows is an exercise in brutal, over the top violence, dark humor, and a political message that we’re not quite sure what it’s trying to say. That, and one of the best, most intense one on one fight scenes since Kill Bill Vol. 2!

Throwing Everything At the Wall
It’s a bit ironic that long before The Hunt was originally scheduled for release, it was being criticized by conservatives for its political controversy, but in the film itself they’re the protagonists, and it’s the liberal elites who are villains.

However, the subtext and allegory don’t stop there. Among the stylized killing and dark sense of humor, the film equally pokes fun at liberal and conservative alike, spouting talking points, and discussing commonly debated issues (gun control, immigration, climate change, gender/race equality, etc.).

In many ways, the film makes caricatures out of extremism on either side, and attempts to demonstrate that we’re really not all that different.

While most of the film is nowhere near subtle, there was particularly nice touch with the lighting, costume design, and production design with respect to the use of color (specifically red and blue).

There are two particularly interesting moments of solidarity, one in which a hunted character thanks a veteran on the hunters’ side for his military service, and another where a liberal is genuinely surprised that one of the conservative rednecks is familiar with literature.

Major Spoilers

Life Imitating Art
Somehow, the film predicted the very outrage and controversy it would inspire, when we find out that the “hunt” itself started because of a misunderstanding. The text messages between the elite liberals were legitimately just a joke.

But after countless conservatives run with the false narrative online, they were inspired make the hunt a reality. This is probably the most absurd and farfetched aspect of the entire film. If you can manage to not take it too seriously and overlook this shark-jumping plot point, the rest of the film makes sense…for the most part.

Aside from the final fight between Athena (Hilary Swank) and Crystal (Betty Gilpin) being awesome, it’s really interesting how much these two characters have in common.

Universal brilliantly took this idea and utilized it in the marketing for the postponed release date. Much like in the film itself, the controversy and outrage were blown out of proportion, but became real because people made it real. It’s hard to remember another time that a film so perfectly mimicked its real life public perceptions.

Very few films have had the struggles in getting released as The Hunt. Between having it’s summer release postponed due to political controversy, and now with the coronavirus pandemic keeping moviegoers away from its March release, it’s soldiered on in a manner very befitting to the film’s central theme.

They also went and pulled a Psycho with Emma Roberts’ character. Those who’ve seen the movie know what we’re talking about!

Our ultimate takeaway from The Hunt isn’t that civil war is inevitable between blue and red states. Rather, it’s that something as over the top and ridiculous as this film reminds us that we all need to calm down and understand each other better.

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