This week sees the release of The Hunt – a horror-thriller from director Craig Zobel. The film is loosely based on the short story, The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell, and focuses on a group of 12 strangers who wake up in the woods to discover they are being hunted by a group of elites.
The strangers are given access to a stockpile of weapons and are then left to fend for themselves. But unsure of where they are, or why they have been placed in a game of cat and mouse, will any of them make it out alive?
If you think this premise sounds familiar it is probably for a couple of reasons. One of these reason is that The Most Dangerous Game has been adapted a number of times before, including a pretty awesome episode of The Incredible Hulk TV series (yes, the one with Bill Bixby). The Hunt is merely the latest take on this tale, so you have possibly seen a variation of the story at some point previously.
The other reason you might be familiar with The Hunt is because the film was being marketed way back in early 2019. The Hunt was originally due to appear in cinemas in September last year, but was pulled just weeks before its debut.
The reason it was delayed was due to two real-life mass shootings, as well as some criticism from Donald Trump. The subject matter of The Hunt was deemed to be too sensitive, and it became surrounded in controversy.
It was then rescheduled to this week, where it was hoped that it would be less controversial. But unfortunately moving The Hunt to March 2020 has proved to be just as problematic. With the world currently facing an uncertain time over the coronavirus, some countries have closed cinemas, so The Hunt may struggle to find an audience.
But if The Hunt doesn’t perform well financially – and of course, it could do great business – this won’t be because it is a bad film. The Hunt is a wickedly fun picture, which I implore people to go see.
From the moment The Hunt begins, it is clear that this is a movie which places tongue firmly in cheek – and that is where it stays for 90 minutes. This is a darkly comical satire, with dollops of blood, lashings of action, and a great deal of commentary on the current state of the world.
Writers Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof, have managed to find a new rub in the survivalist/game hunter story, and have squeezed it for all its worth, with ideas plucked straight from today’s headlines. Fake news, social media, gun control, refugees – all of these themes are weaved into the narrative, in such a way that each idea drops perfectly into the story at exactly the correct moment.
There is an incredibly sharp script at work here, which looks at the current political divide in the US (and everywhere else) and throw shade at both the left and the right. As such, there are times where it is not entirely clear who to route for, regardless of your own political beliefs.
The most notable character in The Hunt is Crystal, as played by Betty Gilpin. Gilpin proves to be a fantastic lead, and someone you can’t help but champion.
A couple of weeks ago I spoke about how good Elizabeth Moss was in The Invisible Man, and how she became the driving force of the picture. Gilpin does the same here, and this ensures that Crystal takes her place amongst some of the greatest action stars of cinema (Sarah Connor, Ellen Ripley etc).
There is a fight scene in particular, of which Gilpin plays a significant part, which will cement her as a bad ass hero. It is also a standout scene in its own right, in what is a solid movie.
If you are venturing out to the cinema this weekend, and you have already seen The Invisible Man, then go and watch The Hunt. It is a marvellous picture that deserves to be seen by as wide an audience as possible.
And if you haven’t seen The Invisible Man yet, then do a double-bill with The Hunt. These are brilliant movies that provide perfect entertainment.