The newest rendition of Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game” set within the framework of today’s hysterical political climate is good for bloody kills and dark comedy, but not much else. The Hunt, although talkative, says little; if there were a cinematic universe for movies about crazy white people, including the likes of Get Out and Ready or Not, The Hunt would be one of the weaker links.
In its most recent advertisement campaign, The Hunt championed itself as “the most talked about movie of the year” thanks to our president who, on August 9th, tweeted the film was “made in order to inflame and cause chaos”. As we all know, if the president said it, it must be true, so no matter what, do not go see The Hunt…or do and cause all the chaos your little heart desires.
The film was originally slated to come out last September, but the president’s outrage paired with a couple shooting massacres delayed its debut to the middle of a global pandemic instead. The Hunt was the last film I saw in theaters before they closed…a moment of silence.
The Hunt is about twelve random strangers, or maybe not so random, who wake up in a clearing confused and with a gag in their mouths, and quickly find out they are being hunted.
The film wastes no time killing people off, and in cartoonish fashion too, as darling Emma Roberts has her brains splattered out, another woman shortly thereafter falls into a hole and is impaled by a spike, and Green Arrow from Smallville steps on a landmine. If you enjoy violent movies, you should get a kick out of The Hunt.
The film also wastes no time making its best effort to trigger certain audiences, ripping buzzwords from Twitter and attaching them to embarrassingly realistic caricatures from both the left and right wing. Liberal elitists who fantasize over Ava Duvernay liking one of their posts and pro-Trump “deplorables” who have podcasts devoted to exposing “crisis actors” are such examples. The film derives much of its tongue-in-cheek humor from its satire, and it often lands if you don’t take it seriously.
After an onslaught of death, a likeably fed up Betty Gilpin emerges as our main protagonist, Crystal. A military vet with common sense and a survivor’s instinct, Crystal appears to be the black sheep of her fellow kidnapping victims; she is the middle ground kind of person the country needs more of. The Hunt appears to be a breakout for Gilpin, who is someone to look out for moving forward.
As Crystal outsmarts her way past the boobytraps and elitist hunters spread across a scenery designed to resemble Arkansas, she finds her way to the elitists’ mysterious leader, Athena, played by none other than two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank. After Swank delivers her villainous monologue revealing her motive for kidnapping said “deplorables,” and that she prefers gruyere on her grilled cheese, a fight breaks out between the two reminiscent of Kill Bill; the sequence is the best crafted of the film.
The Hunt feels like a film written by someone who is tired of the finger-pointing in politics, as I’m sure we all are, but doesn’t offer much of a solution. The movie is blunt evidence of a deteriorating political conversation, but America has been guilty of that for years now so nothing new is being said here. The Hunt is an entertainingly hollow zeitgeist of our times. 6.5/10