The latest film from Blumhouse Productions, ‘The Hunt’ finally arrives on screens after previously being cancelled amidst a number of mass shootings in the US and some pointed twitter activity from President Trump. It is based on the 1924 short story ‘The Most Dangerous Game’, by Richard Connell and sees twelve strangers kidnapped and forced into a terrifying scenario where they become the prey in a twisted game run by the elites of society.
It’s a bit like if the ‘Saw’, ‘The Purge’ and ‘The Hunger Games’ series were all put into some kind of movie mixer together to create a new sicking cinematic smoothie. ‘The Hunt’ starts well, at first ominously introducing audiences into the ideas of the film only then to be undercut by an eye-popping explosion of grotesque violence that proves to be a constant feature of the film throughout. Setting this originally sinister tone and then shifting gear into over the top violence and attempts at humour is an initially jarring change and one that makes it difficult for the tone of the film to achieve consistency. What quickly becomes apparent though is that this isn’t necessarily the film you will expecting it to be. The narrative is full of shocks and surprises, some are effective whilst others not so much. It holds nothing back and its satire is the furthest thing from subtle it could be.
You’ll benefit from knowing as little as possible before watching the film for many reasons. However maybe the most intriguing of these is the way it keeps the identity of one character secret for the majority of the film. This is a very clever tactic and one that will keep you engaged as you watch the unpredictable narrative play out, that is if you haven’t seen the trailer though. Bizarrely this character features heavily in said trailer, so for those that have already been exposed to this the secrecy regarding this character may feel pointless and frustrating. Therefore this will create a mixture of responses from audiences, although this factor isn’t paramount to the success or failure of the picture. Although, it feels like they have put a lot of emphasis on this which only increases the bemusement of the way in which it has been used in the film’s promotion.
Nonetheless, the large cast deliver entertaining performances with a good mixture of well and lesser known performers assembled for the production. There’s a somewhat limited diversity in the cast which feels immediately evident although this is eventually explained and makes sense in the context of the narrative. Whilst the film will most definitely offend certain audiences it rarely takes sides using its satire to constantly poke fun at the different characters it establishes within the ridiculous circumstances of its story.
Whilst running the risk of completely losing its audiences on multiple occasions ‘The Hunt’ ultimately ends up being a wild ride of woke culture gone mad, it’s shocking and stupid but wildly entertaining. Those expecting a straightforward horror/thriller won’t have these expectations met as it refuses to keep its tone consistent instead offering audiences an extreme look at the differences in American society and politics in the most bonkers way imaginable.
Written by Hamish Calvert
STAR RATING –★★★
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Thanks to Movie House Cinemas for screening access