Title – The Hunt (2020)
Director – Craig Zobel (Z for Zachariah)
Cast – Betty Giplin, Hilary Swank, Ike Barinholtz, Emma Roberts, Ethan Suplee
Plot – A group of strangers awake in an isolated forest where they are hunted down by a group of mysterious oppressors.
“Depends on whether they’re smart pretending to be dumb or dumb pretending to be smart”
Review by Eddie on 09/04/2020
Forever set to be the film that infamously canned it’s initial theatrical release after it was surrounded in controversy due to it’s darkly satirical examination of America’s gun violence and political climate, The Hunt as a film is far less memorable, even if it at times subverts expectations in some neatly designed ways.
Director Craig Zobel, whose shown form before with the indie hit Compliance and the the overlooked Z for Zachariah, must have somewhere somehow run across a particularly vicious black cat as after month’s of his film sitting in limbo it found itself released in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, meaning many were never even properly aware his Damon Lindelof written and produced feature was even available for their viewing needs.
Regardless of what stopped the film from jumping into the mainstream conversation bar it’s headline making postponement, The Hunt never does enough with it’s loaded idea to ensure that it was going to become a film people started talking about around the water cooler.
Things start out in a promising fashion, as we are thrown head first into a ridiculously violent and frantic plot-line that sees a collection of 12 strangers awaking in a forest and on the run from a group of gun wielding hunters, this group includes recognizable faces such as Emma Robert’s, Ethan Suplee and Ike Barinholtz, but once the focus turns to Betty Giplin’s feisty Crystal, The Hunt gets bogged down in a more generic procession of events that don’t grip you like they should.
What first feels like some type of politically charged Hunger Games done the way of Crank mixed with Happy Death Day like horror comedy, quickly begins to feel like a collection of big ideas that Zobel doesn’t have the time to explore across 90 minutes, with only so much over the top violence and snarky social commentary able to cover that up.
The cast certainly have a fun time, with many of the core players getting roles and situations you wouldn’t normally associate them with, with Hilary Swank a standout as the mysterious Athena, but The Hunt’s unwieldy tone and inconsistent execution undoes much of the effort of the actors, who begin to get lost in the midst of a film that never gets to make the most of it’s big ideas and imagination.
Final Say –
Not living up the hype that surrounded it thanks to ample media controversies, The Hunt has some nice early moments and some unexpected turn of events but it never comes to terms with exactly what it is as it runs out of steam well before the final showdown.
2 on the loose pigs out of 5