The Hunt has often been a punchline in the emails between this site’s R. D Francis and myself, as we’ve discussed many times how bad the film appeared from trailers and whether or not the controversy was just made up to get rid of a movie that did not appear ready for theaters.
When the COVID-19 epidemic finally pushed this out — anything that is in the can and could be released is being shown — I finally got my chance to see just how bad — or good — this movie was.
Directed by Craig Zobel — who helped created Homestar Runner — from a script by Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof, this movie reimagines The Most Dangerous Game for the nightmare hellworld that we find ourselves navigating every day.
The movie was originally called Red State Vs. Blue State and so upset President Trump that he referred to it as “”Liberal Hollywood” being “[r]acist at the highest level” and stating, “The movie coming out is made in order to inflame and cause chaos”, and “They create their own violence, and then try to blame others.”
I mean, this is a movie that has Sturgill Simpson play a character named Vanilla Nice. That’s the extent of its humor. And the idea that perhaps there’s no right side in this war is pretty much wasted so that Betty Gilpin and Hilary Swank can have a fifteen-minute fistfight.
The whole beginning of this movie feels less like a film and more like watching someone else play PUBG, with numerous deaths happening with no consequences or emotions.
It’s closer to a slasher, some would say, but most slashers are entertaining.
Imagine if The Purge, but remove all the over-the-top ridiculousness and square up reel moralizing — as well as most of the fun — and you have this movie.
Look, Hard Target, Turkey Shoot and Surviving the Game are already much better cover versions than this. They just didn’t have a ton of money behind them and all manner of hype that they didn’t deserve.