Director: Craig Zobel
Cast: Ike Barinholtz, Betty Gilpin, Hilary Swank
Release Date: June 9, 2020
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
In this subversive satire, a group of elites gather for the very first time at a remote Manor House to hunt ordinary Americans for sport. But the elites’ master plan is about to be derailed because one of The Hunted, Crystal (Betty Gilpin, Glow), knows The Hunters’ game better than they do. She turns the tables on the killers, picking them off one by one as she makes her way toward the mysterious woman (two-time Oscar® winner Hilary Swank) at the center of it all.
‘The Hunt’ tells the wickedly satirical tale of a group of people who awaken together in a mysterious field only to discover that they have been taken captive by unknown individuals for some uncertain purpose. But as the bullets start to fly and bodies subsequently drop, these strangers soon begin to notice similarities between their current predicament and a big news story about a group of wealthy individuals that supposedly hunt blue collar people at their manor for sport. Now they’ll just have to stay alive long enough to try and figure out the full truth of what’s happening and hope for an opportunity to either escape or even the odds.
Directed by Craig Zobel (TV’s The Leftovers and Westworld) from a screenplay written by Nick Cuse (TV’s Watchmen) and Damon Lindelof (TV’s The Leftovers), Zobel does a great job at the helm of ‘The Hunt’ guiding along the violent and exciting chaos with a spot-on humorous tone that perfectly balances everything. The film also features a solid cast that includes Ike Barinholtz (Suicide Squad), Betty Gilpin (TV’s Glow), Hilary Swank (Logan Lucky), Emma Roberts (TV’s American Horror Story), Wayne Duvall (American Animals), Ethan Suplee (TV’s The Ranch), Glenn Howerton (TV’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and more, with the majority each offering quite capable performances overall in their respective roles.
‘The Hunt’ is a humorous, notably bloody and wildly enjoyable film that takes off at full speed and sends viewers along for a hectically paced fight for survival. Always approaching the material with a tongue-in-cheek style that never leaves the viewer struggling, while tackling various opinions, politics and income classes in the most over the top manner possible, tending to keep the jokes and nods at real life content more comical than serious and never really taking a side; instead throwing the most ridiculous extremes of each viewpoint at the viewer while tearing through the violent atmosphere our characters are stuck in the middle of. Given that the film is littered with various twists and turns from the onset, it’s difficult to dive into much of the story here without avoiding spoilers, and if you don’t know too much about this one, I would highly suggest going in without any further knowledge as it definitely makes this wild ride even more exciting and rewarding. I can’t possibly recommend ‘The Hunt’ strongly enough to anyone who enjoys a smart and brutal thriller with plenty of bloody action, chaos and excitement. If you’re not easily offended and don’t mind some gore, then you probably won’t want to miss out on ‘The Hunt’ and should only be pleasantly surprised with just how entertaining and humorous it actually is; not to mention how silly how the controversy surrounding it really seems for the most part once you’ve actually experienced it.
Overall, ‘The Hunt’ is a wildly entertaining and energetic thriller that borrows some real life ideas then takes them to the most over the top extremes possible, showcasing a bloody confrontation between two groups of people that never really picks a side or shows much favoritism to one or the other; always just having as much fun with both as possible and offering an immensely enjoyable thriller with plenty of laughs and gory moments. ‘The Hunt’ easily earns one of my highest possible recommendations. It’s a bloody and darkly humorous good time, not to mention one of my favorite films of the year so far. For anyone that’s already even somewhat interested in this one I’d strongly encourage finding the time to give it a shot, it’ll likely at least prove well worth ninety minutes of your time and the cost of a rental.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Hunt’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks great as a whole and offers a sharp, smooth and richly detailed presentation from start to finish that never suffers from any issues along the way. It holds up perfectly even during the few darkly lit and fast moving sequences, never allowing anything onscreen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a wonderful high definition video presentation from Universal that should easily please the fans and first time viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio Soundtrack. The multichannel soundtrack delivers a clean, crisp and quite aggressive audio presentation throughout. It frequently takes full advantage of the seven available channels in order to send gunshots, explosions and nature activity, along with plenty more zipping throughout the various speakers whenever fitting and never causing any dialogue or other audio elements that may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible along the way. Overall, this is a fantastic 7.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that more than holds up while continually complimenting the onscreen fun.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Hunt’ offers a few brief, but enjoyable extras in the way of Behind the Scenes Featurettes that include interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘Crafting The Hunt’ (running approximately 5 minutes in length), ‘Death Scene Breakdowns’ (running approximately 2 minutes) and ‘Athena vs. Crystal: Hunter or Hunted?’ (approximately 3 minutes).