Review by Camden Ferrell
The Hunt, the controversial new film from director Craig Zobel (Z for Zachariah), is being released after a months long delay. This film became national attention last year due to its premise and violent content. This satire is a scathing yet hilarious indictment of our society, and it supports this message with strong writing, great performances, and plenty of gore.
Based on the 1924 short story, The Most Dangerous Game, this movie follows a group of twelve strangers who wake up only to find out they are being hunted by a group of elites. This is a fun premise that provided a lot of potential for excitement as well as much-needed commentary. This movie modernizes the premise of the short story, and it creates a fun and unique experience in the process.
Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof’s script is one of the film’s highlights. From the start of the film, the writing is sharp and witty, and it’s highly effective. A lot of the lines are densely clever, and they thrive in the absurdity of its characters and climate. It’s highly political, and it doesn’t hold back at all with what it is trying to say. It’s effective, and it’s absolutely hilarious. It relies a lot on the stereotypes of its characters and their principles, but for those who catch its references, it’s a phenomenal experience.
The best part of this movie is its acting. This film features a strong ensemble cast featuring many actors like Ike Barinholtz, Emma Roberts, and Hilary Swank who all give strong performances. However, Betty Gilpin (GLOW) gives an excellent and captivating lead performance as Crystal, one of the people being hunted. Gilpin plays Crystal with such an alluring screen presence that is equal parts brutal and determined. She has great timing for comedy, action, and all of the film’s continuous satire. While she definitely has a great script and ensemble with which to work, a lot of the film’s final appeal comes from her great lead performance.
This is a perfect movie for the modern day. It tackles many issues and stereotypes in ways that are didactic and necessary. It weaponizes its characters with a strong sense of political comedy and irony, and this gives the movie a message and a strong voice with which to convey it. It may not be for everyone, and it may very well offend many people, but it’s a clear and perfect message nonetheless. The movie satirizes both sides of the spectrum, and it does it very well.
A lot of the fun in this movie comes from its unpredictability. The movie wastes no time, and it succeeds in shocking and surprising the audience in exciting ways. It makes a lot of narrative choices that are hard to foresee but welcome nonetheless. The movie also serves its satire with a liberal dose of violence, blood, and gore, and this makes it all the more enjoyable.
The movie is also very well-paced. It clocks in at around an hour and a half, and it goes by like a breeze. This is thanks to its great writing, sharp acting, firm direction, and a continuously engaging and hilarious message. This will heavily polarize those who watch, but it is undoubtedly one of the most relevant and urgent political comedies in recent years.
The Hunt is not for the faint of heart, but it’s very much worth it for those who are open-minded. Is it going to be controversial upon release? It’s very likely, but this is a movie that needs to be seen and discussed as it is hilarious and thematically rich and timely.
The Hunt is in theaters March 13.