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.
Plot: 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.
Director: Craig Zobel
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Runtime: 90 min
Rotten Tomatoes Consensus: The Hunt is successful enough as a darkly humorous action thriller, but it shoots wide of the mark when it aims for timely social satire.
“A political… what the f**k?”
Review: (Contains spoilers)
The film starts off with a group text where Athena Stone celebrates an upcoming hunt of “deplorables.” Cut away and we are on her private jet where she is shown killing a man who accidentally staggers out from the cargo hold.
From here we watch eleven captives wake up in a forrest, gagged and ready for the hunt. In a clearing, they all join up and find a cache of weapons and keys to unlock their gags, but upon retrieving them, five are instantly killed in various ways by an unseen enemy. We then start to follow three who seemed to have escaped over a barbed-wire fence and have taken refuge at a gas station. The station’s owners, an elderly couple, Miranda “Ma” and Julius “Pop”, identify their location as Arkansas. The three escapees, each kidnapped from a different part of the United States, realize the situation’s similarity to the conspiracy theory “Manorgate.” The old couple reveal themselves as among the captors and kill all three captives.
From here we roll to a fourth captive named Crystal Creasey who shows up at the same gas station later in the day — noticing that the station’s cigarettes are too expensive for Arkansas, she kills the couple with a sawn-off shotgun from under the counter. To come full circle, moments later, she finds a truck outside that hides Croatian number plates under false Arkansas plates. (We are not in Arkansas, but Croatia.)
Crystal then joins up with another captive, a conspiracy theorist podcaster named Gary — they board a train car full of refugees, whom Gary believes to be crisis actors. When the train is conveniently raided by Croatian soldiers, Gary tries to convince the soldiers of ‘Manorgate’ and the refugees’ perfidy, a refugee, “Crisis Mike” admits to Gary that he and only he is an actor, but says the raid was not planned for, and offers a head start for Gary’s cooperation. Gary uses a grenade the actor had hidden to kill him — finally, when the dust settles, Crystal is taken to a refugee camp with the soldiers.
What happens next? You’ll have to check out the film to find out.
In conclusion —
A couple times a year I’ll watch a movie and struggle to put the words together on how I felt in the moment — The Hunt is one of those movies. On the surface it’s a decent film that entertaining enough for a one time watch, but underneath it has more to say if you really give it a second thought. Nevertheless, at the end of this quick 82 film (not including credits) I could only come up with five words: “A political… what the f**k?”
This film is supposed to be offensive, fun, relevant and irrelevant at the same time — this is the definition of dumb entertainment. This movie isn’t trying to persuade you one way or another, it’s born from the damaged world we all live in — it’s far from perfect. The director of the movie even went out of his way to say that The Hunt was not made to be controversial, but with the idea that “people rush to assume something about someone or assume they understand the beliefs of people that they don’t know just based on them being ‘the other team.’” He even went as far as to say that “I consider it an anti-everybody movie. The goal is to try to poke fun at everybody that we could think of and feel fresh and current while doing that.” From here it’s up to you whether you agree with him or not.
Finally, when it comes to special features you get three; Crafting The Hunt, Death Scene Breakdowns and Athena vs Crystal. The first discusses the costumes and how the props were used for political commentary, the second is on the special effects and make-up teams showing you how they created the gore — and the last feature is a behind the scenes look at the final fight choreography and what both actresses had to master in order to pull it off. If you are looking for extra material, it’s there for you.
Taking everything I’ve said into account, The Hunt gets my recommendation for a rent-only (if you’re thinking about watching it). I don’t think that this is a film you’ll watch twice, so either rent it tonight and give it watch or wait till it goes on sale later this year. No matter what you decided to do, you can grab a copy at your local retailer on Blu-ray today.
Are you a fan of The Hunt? Will you be picking it up to own? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
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