November 30, 2020

A Brief Review of The Hunt (2020)

The Hunt

The Hunt (2020) certainly generated a fair amount of buzz on social media due to it being a bloody satire of our current political polarization. How could a film about a small group of "liberal elites" hunting "deplorables" for fun not generate at least some attention? But did it deliver? Was it any good? No, not really.

In fairness to The Hunt, it was not an easy film to market. It had some horror elements but didn't deserve to be labeled a horror film. I'd label it as more of an action-thriller with a few great comedic lines. Expecting something along those lines vs. horror might have helped, although it wouldn't have been enough to save the film.

The film got off to a great start, and I have to say that the first 20 minutes or so were solid. A group of conspiracy-minded conservatives wakes up in a clearing next to a cache of weapons with no idea how they got there. Just as they find the weapons, someone starts shooting at them. Of course, they quickly conclude that those doing the shooting are liberals who are hunting them because that is the popular conservative conspiracy of the times (which turns out to be accurate) in the film.

Despite the strong start, the film goes downhill quickly as the conservative protagonists discover that they are in another country, have pointless interactions with soldiers of some sort, and the film becomes a disjointed mess. I didn't find the middle portion worth watching at all, as it seemed like the director wasn't sure what to do between the beginning and the end. I resisted the impulse to turn it off only because I had heard that the fight at the end was worthwhile. It wasn't, but it was much better than anything that took place after the film's opening.

The Hunt ended up feeling like something I'd already seen several times with two notable exceptions. The first was the political satire. This was supposed to be the film's real selling point, but it fell flat. While it was atypical in the sense that we don't usually encounter over-the-top liberal and conservative caricatures in horror films, it came across as more of a gimmick than anything else. I suspect it will make the film feel horribly dated in even a few years time. The second was the comedy, and I have to give The Hunt some credit here because there were a few lines that were truly funny.

As much as I wanted to like it, I can't recommend The Hunt because it didn't deliver on any of its promises. It wasn't good as a horror or action film, and the political satire piece wasn't developed enough to be anything more than a gimmick. That leaves audiences with some decent special effects (e.g., exploding heads, a land mine, a couple of hand grenades), a halfway decent fight scene at the end where we get to see what two women can do to each other with kitchen implements, and the memory of encountering strong opinions about the film on social media.

For those who are looking for a film about humans hunting each other that is more fun, even bloodier, and replaces the ineffective political angle with a commentary on marriage and family, check out Ready or Not (2019).

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