Blumhouse Hunt a Swiftian Satire Through Modern Lens

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The Hunt Blu-ray

When THE HUNT was first publicized, it was received with a tremendous amount of online criticism. The elevator pitch was that it was going to be a riff on "The Most Dangerous Game" except that those hunted would be kidnapped Trump supporters released into the wilds of a private estate, to be chased down and killed in gruesome fashion by powerful elites. It was seen as further persecution of conservatives in some corners, and as the seal of approval or an open season on GOP voters by others. Paranoia, as the bards put it so eloquently, runs deep.

In truth, the film is actually a riff on "The Most Dangerous Game" except that those hunted would be... oh. Okay, so maybe the elevator pitch plot was actually spot on in that regard -- but it was hardly the whole story.

This Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof morality play is a valiant attempt at satire on the levels of Jonathan Swift and Voltaire -- with guns, knives, explosives, and eviscerations. And once the open-minded viewer sees that their sacred cow has been led to the same slaughterhouse as everyone else's sacred cow, the film can be seen in a whole new light. Even-handed skewering of everyone's stupidity goes a long way in making political statements palatable. Those who are hunted are extreme representations of guns and "Murica." But those who are the hunters are also caricatures of vegan, virtue-signalling speech police, both sides to a level that elevates this gorefest to the level of modern comedy.

It's useless to lay out the plot any further, as watching it unfold is the whole reason for the film. There are some clever twists and setups, and just about everybody dies. The full focus is on the hunted woman, Crystal (Betty Gilpin), who is former military with a tour in Afghanistan, and Athena (Hilary Swank), the former-CEO elitist who is the driving force behind the hunt at the manor -- or "Manorgate" as it has been called online.

In fact, in a feat of art predicting life, THE HUNT is all about events that are a response to online rumor-mongering treated as conspiratorial fact. Something that is not true but appears to be true gets into the Internet, is treated as though it is true, and in response then becomes true. That's a little insane, but it's an amusing twist that almost presciently reflects the online rumors about THE HUNT predating its actual release. All of this information comes to the fore during the climactic, pyrrhic conflict between Crystal and Athena, in a wonderfully comedic battle to the death.

Definitely worth watching, and would be a real hoot to do so in the mixed company of friends of multiple political persuasions.

3.5 / 5.0