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The Hunt review: About What You’d Expect (spoilers ahead)

MPAA Rating: R
Director:  Craig Zobel
Starring: Betty Gilpin, Ike Barinholtz, Emma Roberts, and Hilary Swank
Movie length: 1 hour 30 minutes

The Hunt was the most talked about movie that no one had seen! Delayed in 2019 amidst moviegoer and politician outcries, the Blumhouse production will soon land in theaters!

This is why it’s a pleasure to be able to speak from a place of having seen when writing about this picture. I can actually tell you whether all of your pre-conceived notions were wrong a few months ago! 

Okay, so The Hunt is basically what you think it is.

In the end, it doesn’t amount to very much of a movie. I get what it was trying to do, in giving us hyperbolic stereotypes of left-wing and right-wing Americans. Regardless, the thematic weight being hefted by any of the decent fight choreography or nice camera work doesn’t amount to much of an impression. The movie is neither funny nor scary. 

To summarize: an exceedingly rich bunch (all white save one Token Brown Guy) of “liberal elites” decide to kidnap a bunch of “red necks” that have been loudly homophobic, racist, pro-gun, or calling climate change a hoax online. The Democrat stand-ins hunt the Republican stand-ins for sport, then explain that the reason they did this is because the Republicans believed they would hunt them for sport, like, a year ago, and how dare they. By the end, everyone has died on both sides except for the one gal who survives (Betty Gilpin) purely because of a clerical mistake and the fact she is a combat vet. She also explains that she’s pretty obviously not okay in the brain anymore (she didn’t specify further). She does make sure we know that she read Animal Farm, though. Afterward she drinks expensive champagne and eats caviar, and then the movie ends.

In all honesty, I wish I could get my morning back. I’m a bit embarrassed for Blumhouse. They’ve been trying so hard in 2020 to resurrect what was always a bad idea but still might have gone over better in 2019. Perhaps they thought that realistically murderizing political Twitterwars would be impressive: 

  • There’s a moment when someone says, “climate change is real, *******,” before shooting a man in the head. 
  • Also, “Do you think you should be shown mercy just because you’re a woman?” which is met with, “no.” Then she shoots her in the head.
  • Also, “Let go you ******* snowflake!” before – you guessed it – someone gets shot in the head.

I’d like to borrow a saying from a friend of mine: The Yikes council has escalated this situation to a Multi-Yike event.

Could a bot have written The Hunt’s script if it had only ever been fed social media and shoot-em-ups? Possibly. Does the overblown reaction that delayed the film back in 2019 now seem validated? Kinda. Gilpin is a spectacular actress, and she is wasted on this production. Meanwhile, Hilary Swank’s character is, frankly, nonsensical. Her motivations make no sense. At one point, she very seriously delivers the line, “Yeah, I’m crazy, but I know that I’m crazy, and if you know that you’re crazy, then you’re not really crazy, so I’m not crazy.”

The Hunt is immediately dismissible as not worth seeing. However, it should be pointed out that, whatever the intent, this was a grossly irresponsible film to champion, and very, very tasteless. It’s politically charged, unnecessary, vitriolic blah. It’s certainly not The Purge, if that was your expectation. It’s toxic and misguided with stereotypical depictions of everybody. It’s Clickbait: The Movie! What a garbage production.

Regardless of your political leaning, this movie only seeks to add to strife present in America today, and is just thematically dead. It’s a heartless movie that does nothing but seem to relish the idea that maybe hateful, awful people killing each other is a fun form of entertainment. I think this kind of incendiary storytelling is useless and, frankly, boring. Film is and has always been a political art. There’s nothing wrong with those topics, and films that seek to satirize or dramatize them. Deliberately attempting to weaponize film this way, however, is dangerous.

Grade: D

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