“The Hunt” Had More Hype Than Anything Else

Betty Gilpin in "The Hunt"

The Hunt is another disappointing thriller that shaped up to be more hype than anything else.

The concept of The Hunt is simple. Twelve people wake up in a clearing only discover that they have no idea where they are, how they got there, or who any of the other people in the clearing are. They later learn that they are part of a sadistic game where they are being hunted by the elite for sport. Fortunately, one of the hunted humans is able to turn the tables on the elite and fight back against their cruel game.

It is clear from the synopsis that The Hunt fancies itself as a political thriller satire. In the spirit of The Purge and Jordan Peele films, Damon Lindelof writes a screenplay that makes a commentary on class and class division. In the film, Lindelof pits liberal elites against rural republicans. The success of the film is that it is unclear who as an audience we should be rooting for. Naturally, we begin anti-the-elite for engaging with the inhumane game but later, things become a little more ambiguous.

The film is heavy in violence but it is executed poorly. Many of the deaths are abrupt and surprising, while others are drawn out to the point where they become ridiculous and unbelievable. Still, there is an element of excitement that is sustained throughout despite the bombast. If the film is reduced to a simple, violent thriller, then it could be classed as entertaining.

Unfortunately, The Hunt bites off more than it can chew. It attempts to make profound political claims and spark debate, only it is ultimately provocative in the least inspiring way. Considering the hype surrounding this film, little can be said in its favor beyond the odd exciting scene and dramatic death. Any political commentary that the film attempts to make falls flat and often makes us cringe. “For the record, climate change is real!” one liberal yells as he murders one of the hunted. It’s awkward and the trying-too-hard kind of controversial.

And that pretty much sums up the movie.