The other day I wrote a review for the last film that I had seen in a movie theater before this current global pandemic hit us all. Now, as I slowly attempt to get back into writer mode fully, I find it fitting to write about the first film I watched digitally once my quarantine took effect. I’m referring to Craig Zobel’s somewhat controversial 2020 flick, The Hunt.
A group of strangers wake up in a random clearing with gags in their mouths and an arsenal of weapons at their disposal. It doesn’t take long for them to figure out that they are being hunted by an unknown enemy.
I can only recall a handful of times when a film was pulled from theaters due to some sort of heinous real-life event. The most recent occurrence of this is of course with The Hunt.
Originally slated to be released in the fall of 2019, Universal Pictures decided to delay the release because of a number of tragedies happening across the country. I believe that delaying the film’s release was the right call for a number of reasons.
Pushing the release date for The Hunt back allowed time for some wounds to heal, for some hurt feelings among politicians to mend, and also for the hype behind the film to grow some, as well. Now, finally ready for its official release to the public, Craig Zobel’s film was equipped with a new tagline — “The most talked about movie of the year is one that no one’s actually seen.” This bold statement could do wonders for a film’s marketing, but can it deliver with such promises? In the case of The Hunt, it sure as hell did!
I had high hopes for the movie, controversial or not. The trailer made it look entertaining and that’s all I cared about. I tend to not take my film-watching experiences too seriously, so this was just another chance to watch an enjoyable flick. With my expectations set high and Universal’s marketing team’s hopes even higher, I can wholeheartedly say that I love this movie.
Starting off rather strong, we are immediately thrust into action… some fine, bloody action. Violence mixed with a lot of comedic elements sets the stage for what the remaining 90 minutes will hold and it never really lets up. Sure, there may be a lull in the action here and there, but nothing that allows for your attention to waver too severely.
The Hunt features a talented cast all around. Familiar faces such as Ike Barinholtz (Blockers, Neighbors), Emma Roberts (“American Horror Story,” “Scream Queens”), and Ethan Suplee (American History X, “My Name is Earl”) all do very well with their respective roles. It is Hilary Swank and, even more so, Betty Gilpin, however, who take the ‘best performance’ award home for this one.
A veteran actor at this point, Swank has done it all. Yet, I can’t recall ever seeing her in a role of this nature. She is a mean-spirited “liberal elitist” and thinks she can get away with anything. Funny thing is she pretty much does until she runs into Gilpin’s Crystal May.
Before watching this film for the first time a couple of months back, I was unfamiliar with Betty Gilpin. I had watched only a handful of episodes of Netflix’s “GLOW,” so my first in-depth experience with her was in fact The Hunt. Her performance throughout the entire film is one of my favorites by anyone in a very long time.
Crystal May is one of the most badass chicks put on film in a while. The funny thing about that statement is that she doesn’t even really seem to care. She is so nonchalant about everything she does, that it makes me love her even more. Everything from her facial expressions and her Mississippi accent to her “hey, bitch” right after blowing someone’s head off round out one awesome lead protagonist.
The Hunt at Home
The Hunt did not get the theatrical run that it wanted, but luckily for fans who are still interested in giving this one the attention it so rightfully deserves, it is available now on Digital, Blu-ray, and DVD from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.
The Blu-ray features a Widescreen 16:9 2:39.1 presentation of the film and contains English DTS-HD Master 7.1, English Dolby Digital 2.0, French Canadian, and Latin American Spanish DTS Digital Surround 5.1 audio tracks. English SDH, French Canadian, and Latin American Spanish subtitles are also available for the deaf and hard of hearing.
There are a number of bonus features present on this home release including cast and crew interviews and behind-the-scenes breakdowns of the fight sequences and more.
The Hunt is an action-packed horror flick with perfectly placed comedic elements, entertaining characters, and a unique twist on a story we’ve seen a number of times before in one fashion or another (i.e. Battle Royale, The Hunger Games, etc.). There is also enough explicit violence to make anyone who needs blood to enjoy their movies happy.
I highly recommend The Hunt, as I give it 4.5 traumatizing stories of a jackrabbit and a box turtle out of 5!