So this is what all the controversy was about? Originally slated to be released on September 27, 2019 the movie was pulled after the shootings that had occurred in both Texas and Ohio back in August of 2019. This was the right call to make, as I had previously mentioned in my Death Wish 2018 review. I will be honest, I can easily quote my opening of that review here and the context would remain the same, and so I shall.
*sigh* Movies do not exist in a vacuum. They exist as snap shots of culture, whether in the form of parody (comedy), our fears (horror), our hopes (science fiction), or in some cases wish fulfillment (action). These of course are generalizations of the genres and what they represent as you look at the passage of time. Not every movie fits neatly into that or you can mix and match to your hearts content. I’ve talked about how this applies specifically to horror movies in other reviews and that there’s a cultural shift to the idea of home invasion being one of the major themes in modern horror. The faceless killers, the victims, and eventually the final girl. There’s even a half dozen movies this year in that particular subgenre of horror to reinforce this.
That has not changed. What does is context and story.
What do I mean?
The Hunt is the newest variation in the well past the glue factory beaten horse of “The Most Dangerous Game” – Hint. It’s MAN. The short story was written in 1924, the first movie adaptation was in 1932. The making of the movie is as interesting than the actual movie. The essence of the story is Rich People hunt other People because reasons. The reasons vary from story to story, but the prey rarely does. Most of the time it’s prisoners, the poor, the homeless, or the otherwise desperate. This movie written by Damon Lindelof (Watchmen, World War Z, Tomorrowland, and dozens of other projects) and Nick Cuse (Watchmen, Maniac) changes it up a bit, just barely. The Rich this time are “Ultra PC Liberal Elites” *shuddering at having written that sentence* who are hunting conspiracy theorists, internet trolls, and people who made fun of them on social media. No seriously. Thats the plot. Gather the prey, drop them in a field Hunger Games style, and …thats it. On Jason Blum (Blumhouse Productions) budget.
I spent the better part of the movie trying to figure out who the movie was for. If it was supposed to be making fun of everyone Mel Brooks style, it forgot to be funny. If it was supposed to be a lampoon, it didn’t remember who the target was. If it was Satire it forgot to actually be ironic and have a message. Who is the mass audience that would be coming to see this. Sure Blumhouse probably made this with a budget of three packets of Pixie Stix, a roll of duct tape, and one live pig, so if anyone saw it it might break even. Might. Instead you have a muddled mess with mildly entertaining death scenes that Spinal Tap would give the thumps up to. I am pretty sure the movie wasn’t taking itself too seriously, but then I go why not? If you are going to make this – take it seriously. If you aren’t going to take it seriously, make it funny. You have to pick…one. At least one.
Betty Gilpin (Stuber, GLOW) is one of the hunted and makes it work and honestly is rather entertaining. There’s an edge she rides with the character between stoicism and sarcasm that really is the highlight of the movie. I could talk about anyone else, but…there really isn’t a point. They are so two dimensional a piece of paper has more depth to it.
This movie should have absolutely been delayed. I stand by the decision on that. That being said, the concept that this movie glorifies hunting people or gun violence shows me no one actually watched it. Gun violence is part of the movie, but unlike Death Wish which romanticized it, this…exists. That might be the kindest thing I can say about it. It exists.
Some of the headlines are pure hyperbole – “Designed to stoke division in this country”. Yeah no WSJ. “Gory Battle Royale”. I’ve actually seen Battle Royale, this doesn’t even rate in the top 30 gory movies of its kind. “Shows Hollywood for what it really is, demented and evil” – Fox news. I don’t even know where to begin on this one on how wrong it is. “Exploitative rather than opinionated” – the Daily Mail. I swear these headlines really are clickbait and I watched a different movie.
The actual controversy around it was sound and fury constituting nothing and may have only existed as part of the movies marketing mechanism, which it’s clear the poster for it’s actual release intended to use.
There’s nothing particularly “wrong” with the movie other than it isn’t half as clever as it thinks it is. It’s not as gory was people claim it is (one scene exception). It wanted to be witty but amounts to little more than an ill placed whoopee cushion where everyone kinda chuckles but no one had a good time.
Should I see it?
No. It’s not even worth the curiosity fee.
Would you see it again?
Only if one of my reviewer friends gives me a hot take I missed entirely and when I can watch it for free on Netflix.
So …not buying it.
No. No I am not
You’re usually more wordy than this on a movie you hate.
I don’t hate it. I am just confused by it. I literally hit my friends up in discord going “what did I just watch?”. This isn’t like The Lighthouse or High Rise where I know what I watched was good but I can’t make heads or tails out of how I feel about it. This is a movie that exists, had its moments largely thanks to Betty Gilpin, but just left me very very confused as to what it wanted to be and was trying to do.
Who knows maybe Bloodshot tomorrow will be something….I doubt it, but I can hope.