An incredibly controversial political horror film is being streamed for free
By Nathan Kamal | 15 seconds ago
Controversy is everywhere. A famous actress can literally not gain or lose weight without it becoming a Twitter controversy. An animated film for children can not have a romantic moment without some cinemas trying to make their own edits. Even artificial intelligence is on the rise. Sometimes a particular movie can briefly break out and become a popular theme, if only for a little while. That is exactly what happened to the political horror thriller from 2020 The hunt, which happens to be streaming for free on the Amazon Prime Videos FreeVee service. Let’s get into that.
The hunt has a premise that is at the same time one of Hollywood’s most beloved and so toxic that the film struggled to be released. Essentially, the film is another iteration of The most dangerous game, the short story from 1924 by Richard Connell in which a big game hunter is chased by a mysterious aristocrat on an isolated island. The Irving Pichel and Ernest B. Schoedsack adaptation from 1932 of the story is a classic from early cinema. The basic idea of the elite chasing the oppressed for sports has been changed with the Ice-T fight against Rutger Hauer, Jean-Claude Van Damme who was rescued by Wilford Brimley on horseback, and John Leguizamo was chased by the principal from Ferris Bueller’s day off. In short, this idea has some legs. The hunthis view of the idea is: what if rich American progressives hunted for working class conservatives?
As directed by Craig Zobel, The hunt often goes on his toes to the edge of being a very dark comedy, but never quite makes it. The film opens with a text thread, the most cinematic of visual elements, which ultimately refers to the hunt for “deplorables”, the infamous term used by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in a 2016 speech that was quickly grasped as a talking point by opponent Donald Trumps campaign. . The action moves quickly to the cabin of a private jet, where It’s always sunny in Philadelphiapassively-aggressively talking down to a flight attendant while rejecting caviar because he “had caviar last night”. Then a confused man with a blue collar breaks into the cabin only for Hilary Swank to kill him by stabbing him through the eye with a stiletto heel. The violence and social commentary will remain at about that level for the rest of the film.
It quickly becomes clear that a group of low-income individuals coded as political conservatives has been abducted and is being chased by a group coded as fancy, champagne-drinking progressives. In one of The huntits smarter features, the film repeatedly centers on a number of different characters as the apparent protagonist (including Arrowis Justin Hartley, American Horror Storyis Emma Roberts, and Afterparty‘s Ike Barinholtz), only to see them killed suddenly and bloody. Betty Gilpin eventually takes the lead as a steely, mostly silent badass, and so on The hunt attempts to become more nuanced.
In many ways, The hunt does not seem to decide whether it is a film in which mocking coastal elites argue whether it is okay to say black or African American immediately after murdering two people, or whether it is a film that wants to comment on interrupting culture, privileges and class. division. It certainly does not help that while the progressives are generally portrayed as exaggerated visions of liberals (to the point that they can not stop spewing out rhetoric even when it obviously means their bloody death), it does not seem that the conservative characters have any political or social views, except for a conspiracy theorist podcast played by Ethan Suplee.
Conceptually, The hunt is not a bad spin on a classic. Most adaptations of The most dangerous game has an element of class differences and economics built into it, however The hunt screws up to 11. Unfortunately, it seems that it is enough to turn both progressive and conservative characters into comics and set them against each other. As we wrote in our first review of the film, there is nothing specifically wrong with caricature used in the pursuit of satire. But, The hunt is simply not a particularly successful satire. Director Craig Zobel claimed in interviews that he did not intend the film to be controversial, which is quite rich; if the very idea of people with different political orientations killing each other was not controversial, there would be no point in making a story about it. But then again, The hunt never seems quite clear what it means, and maybe it just proves it.