Trigger Warning: This movie will upset anyone incapable of laughing at themselves. If you are professionally outraged (you know who you are) all the damn time maybe skip this one.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit curious about this one considering the controversy surrounding it but I knew in all likelihood it was going to leave me disappointed. Having now seen it I can say I didn’t hate it but I think I would have been just fine had they never let it see the light of day. It wouldn’t have exactly been a missed opportunity for the artistic community. Now that it’s here I’d say with low expectations in tow The Hunt was allowed to rise beyond what I thought it capable. I wouldn’t go so crazy as to say it’s great but considering what could have happened makes what they actually did a god damn triumph.
Early on in the film the overall tone is set in place complete with gory violence, irreverent lines aimed to get a rise out of anyone not prepared to find the humor in the more extreme beliefs so many of us hold dear. It can probably feel kind of personal if you let it. I learned a long time ago to laugh at myself and the stupid crap that I think, believe, and yeah the things that blurt out of my mouth (on a daily basis if I’m honest). It’s for this reason, the self referential nature of the movie that allows it to grow beyond a simple, forgetful premise of rich dicks killing “simpletons.” Don’t misunderstand, that is the movie in a nutshell but the humor it possesses by making fun of itself and being so self aware makes it a bit more worthwhile. I’ll be honest by saying a good majority of why I liked this as much as I did is the thought of how many sensitive types will get upset by its jokes.
This is a brutal, at times highly graphic film placing itself firmly in the horror genre but this seems to be more engine to propel the plot forward as the more politically cognizant humor drives the vehicle to its finish line. What I took away most is the idea of how ridiculous we can be as people. We hold onto our beliefs usually for no greater reason than refusing to agree with a slackjaw at the other end of whatever issue people are up in arms over on that particular day. Let’s face it, we’re idiots, most of us, and The Hunt wants to rub your pretentious noses in it. It is a heightened, greatly exaggerated reflection of society and its ludicrous policies, opinions, opinions mistaken for facts, beliefs misconstrued as facts, and the current cancel culture that has become a kind of unabated monster confusing destruction for progress. At least that’s what I took away from this over-the-top kill fest. Maybe I’m giving it too much credit.
Political correctness or incorrectness aside, The Hunt is a short, to-the-point murder spree gleefully taking part in homicide. The conceited, haughty snobs of upper class society decide that anyone whose opinions differ from theirs on things such as immigration, gun control, appropriation and so on should be eliminated with extreme prejudice. The hunted obviously disagree on the whole extermination thing and decide to fight back. Easier said than done.
This brings me to one of my favorite aspects to this movie and that is basically with the exception of one, no person is truly safe from death by bullet, explosives in the pants, Katniss Everdeen wannabes complete with bow and arrow and so on. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on who will live suddenly that person’s head explodes or their jugular is shredded. It’s refreshing to see a genuine example of randomness on screen, pure indiscriminate maiming and mayhem. The pretty girl? Dead. The handsome, leading man? Buh bye.
I can’t fail to mention the satisfaction that comes from watching characters not hesitating to do what is necessary. Repeatedly throughout the movie moments arise when in most films a character would, for no logical reason, delay the inevitable, whereas here the character acts, killing without blinking out of pure survival as any actual human would do if their life was on the line. When a threat is detected it’s dispatched with efficiency.
I don’t mean to make this movie sound all that special, I just found more to it than I ever anticipated. I laughed at its self aware comedy, admittedly enjoyed the hyper violence, scoffed when I had to and just overall went along with the whole ridiculous mess. The Hunt is a whole lot of nonsensical, extreme violence with a humorous approach, misguided or not, to major issues so many consider important. It’s absurd but so are we so I guess you could say The Hunt is nothing more than a product of its environment.
Rated R For: strong bloody violence, and language throughout
Runtime: 89 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Action, Horror, Thriller, Comedy
Starring: Betty Gilpin, Hilary Swank, Ethan Suplee, Glenn Howerton
Directed By: Craig Zobel
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 2.5/ Acting: 3.5/ Directing: 3/ Visuals: 3.5
OVERALL: 3 Nerdskulls
Buy to Own: Yes. Maybe wait for the discount bin? Whatever the equivalent to that is digitally.
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