The Hunt

The Hunt ★★★½

Rotten Tomatoes: 50
Metacritic Metascore: 54%
IMDB: 6.5

79/100

Release Date: 13 March 2020
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Budget: $14M
Worldwide Gross: $6.5M
Total Film Awards: TBD

2020 Ranked

Crystal: "Cigarettes are $6 in Arkansas. YOU DONE FUCKED UP BITCH!!”

SYNOPSIS: 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.

I still held out hope that it would be released eventually following its cancellation last September because of the political backlash it received, and luckily Universal still had the guts to do so. In fact, their recent media spots have only exploited the controversy of the cancellation/delay and it may work in favor of Blumhouse. For all we know this was just a smart media ploy to bring attention to the climate we are living in.

The film itself is an absolutely intense wild ride full of action, brutality, and some undeniable Sociopolitical commentary that does a great job at showing just how radically extreme things can get with people's morals and beliefs on both sides of the spectrum. It is also grisly; filled with flying body parts and graphic violence worthy of the horror movies Blumhouse is rapidly becoming famous for. But all of that is in service to political satire from which no point on the spectrum escapes unsoiled.

Crystal: "Well, are we going to keep listening to Beethoven, or are we going to get on with it?"

One of the best sequences of the film comes quite early as the dozen or so 'deplorables' slowly wake-up and find themselves gagged in a field. A container of weapons leads to an early massacre that allows the filmmaker to tease us with numerous familiar faces taking turns as the heir-apparent lead. Some of the faces that pop up include Ike Barinholtz, Wayne Duvall, Ethan Suplee, and even Emma Roberts, among others.

Preventing the project from crossing into B-movie territory is a standout performance from Betty Gilpin ("Glow") as Crystal. She's a Rambo-type who speaks with a southern drawl only when necessary and seems to have learned a lot while serving in Afghanistan. She also hums to herself and tosses down some unusual facial expressions. This is a seriously oddball performance that is the film's highlight.

The climactic showdown between Crystal and Athena (2-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank), the ringleader of the hunting party is absolutely superb. It is a fight scene reminiscent of the KILL BILL movies (sans Samurai swords) that takes place at Athena's "manor", and is stunningly staged and executed. I personally loved seeing Hilary channel her 'Million-Dollar-Baby' boxing prowess.

DIRECTOR: Craig Zobel
WRITER: Nick Cuse
FILMING LOCATIONS: New Orleans, LA

Best of all is the direction. Delightful twist follows carefully delivered surprise again and again. And just when I thought I had the algorithm figured out, Director Craig Zobel gently pulls the rug, and I laugh at myself for thinking I could anticipate any of it. The conclusion is very smart and will have many people shocked, possibly even triggered (which doesn't take much these days), but I think that's the whole point of a film like this.

For those who have read this entire review...

What was your favorite / least favorite aspect of it?

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Fact-Checking / TRIVIA Source: IMDb

Stay safe my friends. 

Directing - 4/5
Screenplay - 4/5
Editing - 4/5
Cinematography - 3.5/5
Prod Design - 3/5
Acting - 3.5/5
Pacing - 4.5/5
Plot - 4/5
Enjoyment rating - 9.5/10

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