Touted as the “most controversial film of the year that nobody’s seen”, The Hunt has faced numerous obstacles to finding an audience.
Firstly, this violent black horror comedy about 12 strangers who wake up in a field to discover they are the targets of a group of “liberal elites” hunting them for sport, was pulled from release in the aftermath of mass shootings in two US states in August 2019. Originally due to release in September 2019, the film was pushed back to March 2020. Then COVID 19 struck, crippling the cinema business.
The Hunt was made available to rent on demand for a hefty $19.99 and is now coming to DVD and Blu-Ray to own for a similar price.
So, is it worth shelling out a lobster for?
Personally I’d put my money into The Invisible Man, or perhaps any number of older classic thriller titles widely available.
Despite an intriguing premise, The Hunt never offers a deeper message than “judge not lest ye be judged yourself”, as the hunting party have chosen their victims based on internet posts that reveal a “right wing” political persuasion.
I enjoyed many moments in the film but they were brief, and it feels like a very specifically American riff on the huge gulf between their politically opposed ideologists.
There is humour in the dialogue between the liberal elites as they chastise each other for any politically incorrect slip of the tongue, but what kept my interest is the character at the heart of the film, Crystal, played by Betty Gilpin, a kind of female Rambo and the only person being hunted who doesn’t seem too interested in the motives behind her being chosen.
She is focused purely on surviving, and Gilpin delivers a steely performance as Crystal calmly stays one step ahead of the game, until she comes face to face with the ringleader Athena played by Hilary Swank.
Their epic 7-minute kitchen fight at the climax of the film is a great piece of stunt choreography that clearly took months of work to prepare for, but if you haven’t seen Extraction on Netflix of even Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde, then know that there are superior works out there to watch instead.
3 Stars – “Violent Action Thriller is no Bullseye”