Back in August, Blumhouse pulled the plug on its newest film The Hunt, a thriller about a human hunting expedition loosely based on the famous 1924 short story “The Most Dangerous Game.” When a couple of mass shootings happened close to its release date, the studio decided to pull the film fearing it would be insensitive to the victims of those tragedies.
That’s when things suddenly went hog-wild (no pun intended). Following the cancellation, media officials on the conservative side were quick to point out details from the trailer that hinted at the film’s deeper plot. It became clear that the people being hunted were conservative members while the ones hunting them were of the rich, liberal type. They quickly labeled the film an insult to their beliefs and another example of insensitive, liberal Hollywood.
Now the film is finally out, and as it turns out, The Hunt isn’t a thriller but a satire. The film’s story wisely never takes the idea of hunting humans for sport too seriously. Though it does have its serious moments, it mostly relies on the ridiculousness of its situation to generate some bloody yet stellar action sequences and a more than healthy dose of humor that takes aim at the wide divide between America’s two biggest political parties.
The predictions were right about the hunted being of the conservative side. The twelve strangers who have been placed in the game are all conspiracy obsessed “‘Mericans” who were all wrapped up in an Internet rumor about the game they are currently in. All the characters take time to express their grievances about gun rights, illegal immigrants, and the idea that liberals are ruining the country they love so dearly.
While on the other side, the hunters of the game are most definitely of the far liberal side. The elites on the hunt are simply looking for revenge against the far-right supporters who, in their opinion, are making their lives worse by spreading the rumor. They fiercely believe in the importance of political correctness, inclusion, and the idea that conservatives are a scum that need to be taught a lesson.
Though the early press predicted that the film was targeting the far-right specifically, it turns out that both sides are getting the finger pointed at them. The regressive Republicans being hunted are just as bad as the progressive Democrats that are hunting them. There are villains on both sides, and this movie isn’t afraid to directly reference some very sensitive topics to make this portrayal clear.
This is where The Hunt generates its biggest laughs. The one-sided portrayals of the political parties make for some truly hilarious moments. The characters are designed to be ridiculous, and the movie wouldn’t be as entertaining as it is if they were taking everything happening around them seriously.
But it’s the liberals in general that bring in an unexpectedly high number of belly laughs. There’s one scene in particular where the liberal hunters are waiting around in a fort, talking about the importance of pro-choice and other basic liberal topics. One even has a small freakout when filmmaker Ava DuVernay (a known “woke” supporter) likes one of his photos on social media. It’s a smartly written scene that knows how to keeps the chuckles coming.
That’s one thing that feels fresh about this satire. With woke culture so engrained in the film industry today, it’s great that we finally have a movie that isn’t afraid to point out the flaws in this point of view; including a scene where one liberal suggests including one African American among the hunted to be inclusive, and the others are disgusted by this idea. This movie isn’t afraid to go where many movies fear to tread.
It also contains some very entertaining action sequences. Director Craig Zobel clearly took inspiration from The Purge director James DeMonaco, as the scenes are blood splattered and somewhat hard to watch, but never to the point that it will make you want to hurl. They are just violent enough to get the pulse going without seeming too mean to the characters getting blown to bits.
The Hunt feels like a social media comment section come to life. Everyone hates the other side for some reason, and it quickly devolves into insults and death threats. The idea to represent this mindset as a game of hunting humans perfectly represents the ridiculousness of these comments. Combine this with the expertly crafted humor and action pack fight sequences and this movie is way better than what people initially thought.