Movie Review: The Hunt (Universal Pictures)

“For the record, Climate Change is real!” ‘The Hunt’ is a 2020 Universal Pictures release directed by Craig Zobel. Written by Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof, it is yet another […]

“For the record, Climate Change is real!”

‘The Hunt’ is a 2020 Universal Pictures release directed by Craig Zobel. Written by Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof, it is yet another film adaptation of the 1924 short story by Richard Connell, ‘The Most Dangerous Game’, joining 1932’s ‘Most Dangerous Game’, 1945’s ‘A Game of Death’, 1956’s ‘Run for the Sun’, 1965’s ‘The Naked Prey’, 1974’s ‘Open Season’, 1987’s ‘Slave Girls Beyond Infinity’, 1993’s ‘Hard Target’, 2008’s ‘Manhunt’, and 2019’s ‘Ready or Not’.

Similar to all of the others, the story is about people thrust into unfamiliar and perilous territory where they’re hunted down for sport. In this case, it’s a group of all-in MAGA Trump supporters preyed upon by nefarious liberal elites. The abductees have names like Crystal (Betty Gilpin), Shut the F**k Up, Gary (Ethan Suplee), Yoga Pants (Emma Roberts), Target (Christopher Berry) and Don?? (Wayne Duvall). The abductors get monikers like Athena (Hilary Swank), Crisis Mike (Usman Ally), Martin (Dean J. West), Liberty (Teri Wyble), and The Doctor (Steve Coulter).

The violence in this film is absurdly over the top. The tone is set not even two minutes in with some arterial spurt and a gouged-out eyeball dangling a bright, bloody optic nerve. People are blown to bits, torn in half, impaled on stakes, poisoned, shot, stabbed, bludgeoned and pierced by arrows, just for starters.

There are some nice manipulations of the ‘Final Girl’ trope. Some great acting from Betty Gilpin, who takes a character written as flat as the rest and turns in a rather nuanced performance in a film otherwise devoid of nuance or subtlety. There is a very pretty Afghan Hound, and amazing fight choreography by stunt coordinator Hank Amos, who inserts a particularly nasty melee technique two full times. The rest of this movie is just a mess. Hillary Swank must owe someone money. She’s chewing so much scenery it’s amazing the sets survive her takes.

This movie is designed to provoke people. If it’s meant as satire, it’s not funny. If it’s supposed to be edgy, it has nothing innovative. It’s a political bomb that could get people killed. The film’s initial release date was pushed back until March 13th after the Dayton and El Paso mass shootings, which were perpetrated by political extremists. All of the characters are caricatures, but the extremist whackaloons who see the movie won’t understand that, as extremist whackaloons are not known for their keen discernment of nuance and parody. The one good thing about this movie coming out now is that thanks to the coronavirus, it will tank and no one will get hurt.

The Hunt opens nationwide Friday, March 13.

About Dan Kleiner

Dan Kleiner is a strange visitor from another planet who resides in Brooklyn, New York with two cats and his amazing girlfriend. When not plotting world domination, he spends a great deal of his time watching movies and anime of all sorts, reading comic-books and book-books, studying politics and history and striving for the day when he graduates as a Class A-Weirdo.