The Hunt Review: The Controversy is More Interesting Than the Movie
There’s an odd scene early on in HBO’s Watchmen the place an episode of an in-show drama, American Hero Story, is proceeded by a comedically gratuitous set off warning. The Hunt, a controversial Blumhouse horror-thriller that was cancelled after the mass shootings in Ohio and Texas final summer time earlier than being rescheduled, was co-written by Watchmen head honcho Damon Lindelof and strikes a satirical tone just like that scene. But when that temporary try to, mainly, troll individuals who name for detailed content material summaries appeared awkward juxtaposed with the sequence’ highly effective story about racial injustice, the strategy feels all of the clunkier when carried over to a film concerning the toxicity of a lot of at this time’s on-line political discourse. A greater survival thriller than social commentary by way of the horror style, The Hunt solely simply holds collectively due to Betty Gilpin’s virtuoso lead flip.
The Hunt revolves round a bunch of twelve strangers who get up in a clearing, no concept the place they’re or how they bought there. However simply as they’ve barely unlocked their mouth gags and stumbled upon a crate filled with weapons, bullets and arrows begin raining down on the unwitting victims, who rapidly understand they’re being hunted for sport. As destiny would have it, the hunters get greater than they bargained for when one of many hunted, a lady named Crystal (Gilpin), seems to be a highly-skilled and clever survivalist. One after the other, Crystal begins killing her attackers, steadily working her manner as much as Athena (Hilary Swank), the mysterious particular person who organized “The Hunt” to start with.
Associated: Each Main Film Releasing in March 2020
On the floor, Lindelof – working along with his frequent co-writer Nick Cuse and The Leftovers director Craig Zobel – has crafted a free re-imagining of The Most Harmful Recreation, Richard Connell’s basic 1924 brief story about rich folks searching these poorer and fewer lucky than them for sport. In movement, although, The Hunt capabilities as a parable that imagines what may occur if the best way liberals and conservatives dehumanize each other once they focus on politics on-line spilled over into the true world, to the purpose the place they’re actually killing these on the alternative aspect of the fence. The issue is the movie does not need to look at how folks type their identities round their political views with any actual depth, a lot much less delve into the elements that’ve led to the fashionable political divide. As a substitute, the vast majority of the characters in The Hunt are launched as stereotypes and by no means evolve past that. Because of this, the movie sometimes performs out like an overlong SNL parody of a horror-thriller the place the joke includes folks worrying about political correctness or spouting conspiracy theories whereas both committing murder or operating for his or her lives. Save for the occasional amusing second, this one-note gag runs out of fuel fairly rapidly, even for a movie as brief as this.
Betty Gilpin in The Hunt
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Toothless satire apart, The Hunt does get pleasure from some success as a subversive tackle the Remaining Lady trope that is reminiscient of more moderen horror-comedy-thrillers like You are Subsequent and Prepared or Not. That is largely resulting from Gilpin, who readily demonstrates her motion star bonafides whereas additionally showcasing her sense of dry comedic supply as Crystal, a hardened and succesful heroine draw within the type of the older Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley (with a contact of Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Identify, no much less). Swank will get far much less display time as Athena, but the Oscar winner appears to relish the chance to painting a ridiculous antagonist – her tongue embedded firmly in her cheek – and take part in simply the best-staged and dynamically photographed struggle sequence in the entire movie. Zobel and his cinematographer Darran Tiernan (Westworld) do an in any other case respectable job with their sequencing and capturing the motion in a fluid method, even when they’re responsible of compensating for the The Hunt‘s low-budget aesthetic by throwing further guts and gore on the digital camera.
By the point The Hunt is over, it turns into clearer why the movie’s current advertising and marketing has leaned into its pre-release controversy as a lot because it has. Sure, as a result of there is not any such factor as unhealthy publicity, but in addition as a result of it is frankly extra fascinating than something the precise film has to supply. As a riff on The Most Harmful Recreation, it is bloody sufficient to offer gorehounds their repair, with a badass Betty Gilpin efficiency to match. However as a chunk of well timed social and political commentary, The Hunt is as meaningless as dismissing each side of a problem as equally unhealthy – whatever the subject – and saying we should always work collectively to resolve our issues whereas additionally refusing to discover why everybody’s so indignant to start with. Hopefully, some audiences will get extra from it than that; as for everybody else, you in all probability do not want a satire as flimsy as this to persuade you that poisonous on-line discourse is unhealthy.
NEXT: Watch The Hunt Trailer
The Hunt begins taking part in in U.S. theaters on Thursday night, March 12. It’s 90 minutes lengthy and is rated R for sturdy bloody violence, and language all through.
2.5 out of 5 (Pretty Good)
Key Launch Dates
- **The Hunt (2020)**Launch date: Mar 13, 2020
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About The Writer
Sandy Schaefer is Display Rant’s Film Evaluations Editor and an Affiliate Information Editor.
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