The release of this film was delayed last September when it coincided with mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. They thought the timing would be better now with six months of lesser shootings behind us. Doubly cursed, the second release coincided with the nationwide pandemic shutdown of movie theaters, so it has been released as a streaming option for home viewers at a cost of twenty dollars. Maybe we’re just not supposed to see or enjoy this movie.
This is the latest offering by BlumHouse, Jason Blum’s production company known for twisted tales with gobs of violence and gore. They most recently brought us The Invisible Man and Fantasy Island. The sleeper hit Get Out was also a BlumHouse feature.
The story line – liberals hunting conservative humans for sport – is far from that simple. As is the case in many films lately, a cell phone is the first character we meet, this time displaying a group text conversation that is either a joke in poor taste or commentary on a plot that the participants have agreed never to speak of. The text exchange, supposedly deleted, is exposed, resulting in career loss for the parties involved. It may also have become the launching pad for an actual plot that is of course denied. It’s just fake news.
Are you an elite liberal or a redneck conservative? A snowflake or an immigrant? It doesn’t matter. All labels are at play in full force during The Hunt. Political stereotypes, correctness, convincing but irrational arguments from both perspectives, the “deep state,” crisis actors, deplorables and “fake news” abound in every scene throughout the film. As with most conspiracy theories, there is overlap between truth and lies, reality and imagination, often projected by partisans onto themselves and explored in painful brush strokes evocative of the evening news. The truth is hard to determine for the film’s characters as well as the audience, but the absurdity of today’s politics are clearly exposed.
Betty Gilpin plays Crystal, one of twelve people kidnapped and released in a clearing to be hunted. They are gagged and provided with an arsenal of weaponry but the deck is overwhelmingly stacked against them. Yet Crystal has some skills and manages to take on the hunters.
Hillary Swank plays Athena, mastermind of the hunters, toppled from her lofty corporate position and seeking revenge against Crystal in particular. When debating the legitimacy of their respective positions with Athena, Cyrstal comments, “Depends on whether they’re smart pretending to be idiots or idiots pretending to be smart.”
You might want to brush up on George Orwell’s Animal Farm before seeing The Hunt, especially if you’re a redneck conservative because, well, liberal elites would never imagine you’ve read it.
By the end of this very dark but clever satire you may be surprised at who you’re cheering for because, as you know, all pigs are created equal, but some pigs are more equal than others.
The Hunt (2020) runs one hour 30 minutes and is rated R.
Should I see this movie?