The Hunt revolves around a group of liberal elites who kidnap and hunt down conservatives who were conspiring about the event on social media which they decided to call Manorgate.
The reason you watch this film is for its star, Betty Gilpin. I’ve only seen her on Netflix’s GLOW, which she is also just magnetic in. Her character, Crystal, doesn’t care much about the politics surrounding her, she just wants to survive and is determined to do that. While everyone around her feels like a caricature, she is the most serious and grounded.
While Gilpin is the best thing about the movie, the story itself just doesn’t work for me. It’s supposed to play like a satire, and though it pokes fun at both sides, I didn’t feel like it worked. The liberals were played as overtly sensitive and the conservatives were played as dumb country folk, but the whole premise just felt outrageous. Co-written by Damon Lindelof, the creator of Lost, The Leftovers, and HBO’s Watchmen, I was a bit disappointed that the expert writing displayed in those shows was not apparent here. With those other shows, the writing challenges the viewer – it’s sharp, smart, and allegorical. The Hunt tackles the extremes of American politics today to show how ridiculous they have become, but the film is so in-your-face about it that it may put you off.
The supporting cast consists of Hilary Swank, Emma Roberts, Ike Barinholtz, and Justin Hartley, but as mentioned before everyone besides Gilpin in this film feels like a cartoon. The jokes and dialogue are so one-note and stereotypical that it just came across as cringey. I did think that the action was well-done, and the film had some creative and unexpected kills. One particular fight sequence with Gilpin and Swank stands out, but it also derails into a discussion about George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” which shows how messy and unorthodox this movie can be at times.
Overall, The Hunt is a breezy movie with quick pacing. And I did find it entertaining enough. But, if you want a fun movie with a similar premise, I would point you to see last year’s Ready or Not if you haven’t seen it yet. But if some mindless entertainment is all you want in a movie, then you may also enjoy The Hunt. I just found that the outlandish attempts of capturing both sides of the political spectrum in America deterred me and think that would’ve played better if it had some subtlety.
I give The Hunt a C-