Boy, did this movie rub some people the wrong way. That‘s not to say you won‘t enjoy it, those people were the SJW snowflakes trying to censor everything in the world so we all live in a magnolia middle of the road ‘nirvana‘ and on the opposite side of the (of)fence, the MAGA Trump freaks who want to buy up everything until we have to pay for the very air. These groups got very angry, threw their toys out of their recyclable gold prams and did not want the rest of us to be able to, you know, make a choice on how we are entertained.
And The Hunt is VERY entertaining. There was a worry that its messages would be delivered heavy handedly, almost posting its politics on every frame of the movie. This is not so. This is a very clever film, but you don‘t have to think about it. If what you want is a 70‘s style grindhouse popcorn thrill, then The Hunt can provide that. There are moments where it feels like you are watching a cartoon, the violence is so surprising and sudden and, well I have no idea how the draconian BBFC only gave this a 15 but believe me when I say this does not skimp on the old ultraviolence.
The Hunt also manages to keep you on the edge of your seat. Think he is the main character? Three minutes later, watch his brain flying! Think she is the main character? Oh, there go her legs. You‘re constantly asking yourself who is running from whom and who is running the show. The show, or The Hunt, if you will, is an event where the elite rich (straight out of the Hostel playbook) get together and hunt a dozen lower level folks who they have researched, drugged and dragged to their manor to ‘play‘.
There are touches of Evil Dead humour, the blackest gallows variety which had me cracking up just before they pulled the rug and pulled more brains. There‘s also a great deal of The Purge style social commentary throughout, especially when the SJW philosophy and that of the MAGA crew seem to bleed together and you‘re often faced with people you hate on the right side and like on the wrong side. It‘s not as shallow as you may have expected. Again, bravo to Blumhouse for helping resurrect intelligent horror, albeit with a shit eating grin on its face.
The nearest neighbour of all is The Most Dangerous Game, of course, but with all that modern technology can bring – automatic weapons, phones, even drones are used in interesting and exciting ways, all leading to a breathless climax that has Tarantino written all over it, even if they are all wearing shoes.
The other heavy influence is George Orwell, which is not something you can often say about the latest horror blockbuster, but here we are. Yes, there is even a literal pig called Orwell, who perhaps you will care about more than the disposable humans – how Orwellian is THAT?
Overall, The Hunt is both the perfect drive-in movie and a biting social commentary on the state of the world in 2020. Perhaps with the current situation, it‘s best to just enjoy the fun and then, at a later date, we can revisit and pick out the heavier, more cerebral work at play. And I cannot wait to revisit.
(The Hunt is available on VOD, such as Amazon Prime Video, right now)