• Angus McGregor

2020 Film Review: The Hunt

Plot Synopsis: Twelve strangers wake up in a clearing. They don't know where they are -- or how they got there. In the shadow of a dark internet conspiracy theory, ruthless elitists gather at a remote location to hunt humans for sport. But their master plan is about to be derailed when one of the hunted, Crystal, turns the tables on her pursuers.

'The Hunt', apparently formerly titled as 'Red State Vs Blue State’, is a horror-action film coming from Blumhouse that looks to take the ideology of the successful 'Purge' franchise and give it a wee bit of tuning. With the content involved, the film immediately garnered a reputation, with postponements due to the Dayton and El Paso shootings in August setting the film back. Despite this, test screenings and trailers still emerged, bizarrely leading to Donald Trump tweeting about the film, because of course, he wasn't busy. Trump criticised the film immediately, stating it was targeting his voters and supporters in a negative way, inciting the film trying to stir up trouble.

Perhaps what is most interesting, though, is how the film actually depicts this divide. Going in blind, you'd expect the bad guys to be the gun toating, freedom "protecting" alt-right, hunting down members of the opposition, with Trump himself clearly thinking so too. However, those in charge of the hunt is actually the Liberal left, a surprising twist with the, as the film describes them, "the deplorables" the victims of this horrific game. A timely reference to the 2016 Presidential Election, the film sets up an interesting depiction for its satire on the two divides in America with an unexpected shake-up to begin with.

Unfortunately, despite a decent idea, the film really isn't able to capitalise, the main issue being it not being nearly as clever as it thinks it is. As with satire, it attempts to ridicule many different things that, to be fair, deserve to be called out. The issue with this is that it is so basic and surface-level for the most part. It's the same jokes edgy pre-teens would share on Facebook - not too risque so there mum doesn't tell them off - in its attitudes towards an abundance of social issues. There are some good ideas that the film suggests, with a refugee camp appearing halfway through. However, it is more of a small acknowledgement rather than a stinging take or criticism, simply pointing out it exists over anything else. This feels to be the main issue with this film, its humour isn't fully focussed on commenting on these issues, diluting the satire/discussion it is trying to create.

Where the humour does work more so is when it embraces its B movie plot, with a solid performance from the wonderful Betty Gilpin going alongside it. With the horror-action plot, there's cheesy one-liners and gore as the film doesn't shy at all from hamming it up. It isn't quite a perfect blend, as seen in last year's 'Ready Or Not', taking away from some of the more horrifying moments. Nonetheless, there is a lot for fans of the genre to involve, with some quick scenes early on providing some humorous shocks to truly satisfy. As for Gilpin, she continues to showcase her capabilities and is rightfully earning bigger roles in bigger projects. The GLOW star is a fantastic badass heroine, excelling as a stoic and ruthless machine solely intent on surviving. Gilpin has a bright career ahead of her and hopefully, we can see her in projects that match her calibre shown in her career so far.

'The Hunt' has more success when it embraces its plotline, arguably doing a better job than the 'Purge' series which it is so clearly influenced by. For an hour and a half, it's fun enough to provide a decent viewing with jokes regarding the current political climate in America. However, as a true quality satire, it is a bit wide off the intended mark, leaving you with nothing to really ponder or question but with a couple of light chuckles.

Final Rating: 2.5/5

'The Hunt's history is arguably more intriguing than the final product, but the film is alright regardless. As usual, I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my review, it is much appreciated and I hope you enjoyed the read. Make sure to return here for more movie reviews, both old and new coming very soon! Until then, make sure to stay safe and I'll see you in the next one!

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