THE HUNT (2019) Reviews and overview

 

The Hunt is a 2019 satirical action-thriller feature film about a sinister social media game that involves humans as the prey.

Directed by Craig Zobel (Z for Zachariah; Compliance) from a screenplay written by Nick Cuse (The Leftovers series) and Damon Lindelof (World War Z; Prometheus; Cowboys & Aliens), the Blumhouse Productions-White Rabbit movie stars Betty Gilpin, Emma Roberts, Hilary Swank and Ethan Suplee.

The soundtrack score was composed by Nathan Barr (The Domestics; The Last Exorcism; Hostel and Hostel II; Cabin Fever; et al).

Plot:

Twelve strangers wake up in a clearing. They don’t know where they are, or how they got there. They don’t know they’ve been chosen… for a very specific purpose … The Hunt.

In the shadow of a dark internet conspiracy theory, a group of elites gathers for the very first time at a remote Manor House to hunt humans for sport.

However, the elites’ master plan is about to be derailed because one of the hunted, Crystal (Betty Gilpin), knows The Hunters’ game better than they do. She turns the tables on the killers, picking them off, one by one, as she makes her way toward the mysterious woman (Hilary Swank) at the centre of it all…

Reviews:

“Like a bad SNL cold open, it might be somewhat worthwhile for a few gags, a committed performance or two, and for when it gets too silly to not at least chuckle at, but any attempts to be more than that are toothless and near embarrassing.” Arrow in the Head

” …it may have something to do with the common refrain that liberals are “driving” people to vote for Trump with their oppressive political correctness, but that’s about as far as we can interpret it. And so, for all the hype and free publicity, in the end The Hunt is simply one of those whiz-bang genre flicks where you can absolutely fast-forward through the dialogue scenes.” AV Club

“For genre fans, much of The Hunt is stuff we’ve seen many times over. It’s predictable with zero surprises. The irony drowns everything else out, yet is too heavy-handed and simultaneously too shallow to offer much in the way of substantial commentary that would offset the familiarity.” Bloody Disgusting

“The movie is a comically satirical exaggeration of the loudest people on social media, the ones who believe in Pizzagate and the ones who deem all Southerners as racist — the ones who encourage divide at the expense of the truth. But more than that, it’s a very funny action/thriller with a “final girl” who should be a role model to us all… both on and offline.” Film School Rejects

The Hunt doesn’t actually add to political discourse in any meaningful way, but it’s a harmlessly grotesque bloodbath elevated by a fierce and physical performance from Betty Gilpin.” Flickering Myth

” …lacks the courage of its presumed convictions, displaying no more than a determination to make as much cash as possible by exploiting national divisions less covetous individuals are despairing of rather than monetizing. Toothless and obvious as a satire, The Hunt does not even play fair in terms of the humans hunting humans theme…” Los Angeles Times

“As a riff on The Most Dangerous Game, it’s bloody enough to give gorehounds their fix, with a badass Betty Gilpin performance to match. But as a piece of timely social and political commentary, The Hunt is as meaningless as dismissing both sides of an issue as equally bad – regardless of the issue – and saying we should work together to solve our problems while also refusing to explore why everyone’s so angry to begin with.” Screen Rant

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Controversy:

Universal Pictures cancelled the September release of The Hunt, saying that: “now is not the right time to release this film” in the wake of deadly attacks in California, Texas and Ohio.

Donald Trump and conservative commentators were highly critical of the movie’s satirical content. Without referring to The Hunt by name, Trump tweeted about a “movie” that had been “made in order to inflame and cause chaos”.

The Hollywood Reporter has reported that a character at one point calls the people being hunted “deplorables”. In 2016, Hillary Clinton said half the supporters of her Republican rival belonged in a “basket of deplorables” – people who were racist, homophobic, sexist, xenophobic or Islamophobic.

Quizzed if Trump’s comments had a role in the decision to halt the movie’s release, an insider said the studio and filmmaking team were discussing the cancellation well before he made his remarks. In fact, Universal had already the ad campaign for The Hunt in the middle of last week in light of the latest spate of US mass shootings.

A statement from Universal, which is owned by Comcast, said: “After thoughtful consideration, the studio has decided to cancel our plans to release the film. We stand by our filmmakers and will continue to distribute films in partnership with bold and visionary creators, like those associated with this satirical social thriller, but we understand that now is not the right time to release this film.”

The movie may still be released in theatres or on streaming services at a later date. As of February 11, 2020, a new trailer was released online by Universal (see below).

If I was offered the choice to make the movie again, I would say yes,” Jason Blum told Vulture. “We definitely made marketing mistakes, and we made plenty of mistakes along the way. So I’ve learned a lot. It might change how I would position movies and how I would consult on the marketing of the movies. But actually the making of the movies? No.”

Release:

The Hunt was originally due to be released by Universal Pictures on September 27, 2019. It eventually emerged on March 13, 2020. Buy from Amazon.com

Choice quotes:

“It’s not a country. It’s a business.”

Crystal: “Depends on whether they’re smart pretending to be idiots or idiots pretending to be smart.”

Fauxnvoy: “Is that a kimono? That’s appropriation, Richard.”

Cast and characters:

Betty Gilpin … Crystal
Hilary Swank … Athena
Ike Barinholtz … Staten Island
Wayne Duvall … Don
Ethan Suplee … (Shut the F*** Up) Gary
Emma Roberts … Yoga Pants
Christopher Berry … Target (as Chris Berry)
Sturgill Simpson … Vanilla Nice
Kate Nowlin … Big Red
Amy Madigan … Ma
Reed Birney … Pop
Glenn Howerton … Richard
Steve Coulter … The Doctor
Dean J. West … Martin (as Dean West)
Vince Pisani … Peter
Teri Wyble … Liberty
Steve Mokate … Sgt. Dale
Sylvia Grace Crim … Dead Sexy
Jason Kirkpatrick … Rannnndeeee
Macon Blair … Fauxnvoy
J.C. MacKenzie … Paul
Tadasay Young … Nicole
Hannah Alline … Flight Attendant / Not Stewardess / Kelly
Jim Klock … Captain O’Hara
Usman Ally … Crisis Mike
Walker Babington … Bandana Man
Ariel Eliaz … Dino (as Aril Eliaz)
Alexander Babara … Bojan
Tirol Palmer … Refugee Mother
Ned Yousef … Bearded Refugee
Iyad Hajjaj … Backpack Refugee
Mikel Albagdadi … Refugee Man
Martin Harris … Agent in Charge
Yosef Kasnetzkov … Border Agent
Jeff Brockton … Border Agent
Troy Roker … Border Agent (as Troy Jason Roker)

Filming locations:

Louisiana

Filming dates:

20th February 2019 – 5th April 2019

Related:

Hunting Humans: The Influence of The Most Dangerous Game – article

Trailer:

YouTube reviews:

YouTube Dead Meat Kill Count video:

New and future releases