Betty Gilpin stars in The Hunt.

Twelve random "regular" people find themselves being hunted by vengeful wealthy sociopaths in The Hunt, starring GLOW's Betty Gilpin and Oscar winner Hilary Swank. Delayed since last fall in the wake of mass shootings, the film is being touted as a daring, politically incorrect edgy satire. It's not. It's just a predictably pointless, simplistic premise with all the subtle nuance of a cudgel to the side of the head, pretending that it has something relevant to say about "cancel culture" and our current hyper-polarized partisan divide.

Written by LOST's Damon Lindelof and Nick Cuse, The Hunt is about 12 strangers who wake up in a clearing with no idea where they are or how they got there. They soon discover they are "prey" at an exclusive resort called The Manor, where the uber-wealthy come to hunt human beings—although Hilary Swank's high-end executive (who masterminded the whole thing) scoffs that they should hardly be considered "beings." But one of the targets, Gilpin's Crystal, fights back, and proves to be a formidable adversary.

As I pointed out when the first trailer dropped, it's not a particularly new idea, since Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game" was first published in 1924 and has spawned countless film and television interpretations of the basic concept over the ensuing decades. The twist in this case is that the hunted are all red state "deplorables," and the hunters are "liberal elites"—albeit of the super-entitled uber-wealthy variety.

Naturally, Fox News had a field day with the film's storyline. It's essentially trolling their core audience, after all, although the premise is frankly just as offensive to folks on the opposite end of the political spectrum (fair and balanced!). Sometimes that kind of controversy can be good marketing for a strong opening weekend. But then Universal decided to pull the film's originally scheduled release in the wake of three US mass shootings that claimed the lives of more than 30 people. That was the right decision.

Even though the premise, and that original trailer, seemed pretty dubious, I was willing to give Lindelof and Cuse the benefit of the doubt and wait to see the film before rendering judgment. If anyone could set up expectations and then toss in a jaw-dropping twist, it's those two. So I'm actually quite peeved that The Hunt is so unrelentingly predictable and pedestrian. How Lindelof and Cuse could go from something as multi-faceted and sublime as Watchmen to this godawful mess is quite the head-scratcher.

The most recent trailer (embedded above) has been recut to hint that The Hunt isn't really about rich liberals literally killing conservative folks, but that's very disingenuous. Yes, the premise really is that dumb and obvious. There are no fully-formed characters, just caricatures; half of the characters aren't even named, they're just listed in the credits as "Yoga Pants," "Trucker," "Staten Island," or "Crisis Mike," to name a few. As for the motivation of the so-called "liberals," we learn that the notion of the Hunt started out as a Q-Anon-like internet conspiracy.

(Warning: Major spoilers below the gallery.)

  • Betty Gilpin stars as Crystal in The Hunt. She is the best thing about it. Universal Pictures
  • Hilary Swank is utterly wasted as the one-dimensional Athena. YouTube/Universal Pictures
  • A kidnapped Crystal wakes up in the woods, presumably in Arkansas YouTube/Universal Pictures
  • A weapons cache to give the targets a fighting chance. YouTube/Universal Pictures
  • Half these characters don't even have names, eg "Trucker" and "Yoga Pants" YouTube/Universal Pictures
  • Check out the guns on that guy. YouTube/Universal Pictures
  • The hunters take aim YouTube/Universal Pictures
  • Run! YouTube/Universal Pictures
  • Sure, they look like they just run a Mom and Pop store. But beware. YouTube/Universal Pictures
  • Hiding the bodies. YouTube/Universal Pictures
  • At least Crystal is too smart to fall for their schtick. Universal Pictures
  • The liberal elites responsible for the titular Hunt Universal Pictures
  • Working out the logistics. YouTube/Universal Pictures
  • He looks like a douche. And he is one! YouTube/Universal Pictures
  • Crisis Mike (Usman Ally) self-identifies as white. YouTube/Universal Pictures
  • Facing off in Athena's kitchen. YouTube/Universal Pictures
  • Who will be left standing? Read More – Source [contf] [contfnew]


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