After much publicity and uproar The Hunt arrives and if anything, proves that hype at times is better than the eventual end product!
“Demented and Evil”, “Not Appropriate” “Political Uproar!”, if I take anything away from my experience of watching this new horror/thriller is that the poster really oversold what it was selling!
After the trailer caused massive outcry in which like everything else these days, Donald Trump was sucked into the outcry, The Hunt ends up being basically nothing more than a variant of Richard Connell’s 1924 short story The Most Dangerous Game. A plot that over the years has seen the likes of Jean Claude Van Damme, Rutger Hauer, to even Jennifer Lawrence having to go on some kind of chase, where poor innocents are being chased by rich people with guns/arrows/etc…etc!
If anything, most fans having watched this film, will be questioning why the media backlash occurred, as when the final credits roll, nothing really shocking leapt from the screen, the plot barely breaking a controversial path or leaving a lasting impression.
Plot wise its simple! A gang of humans awake, gagged in a field and are soon being hunted. Its the opening few minutes that actually sparkles with wit and energy as well known faces like Emma Roberts and Justin Hartley are soon put to the test and its here and the only time during the entire film that mouth opening shocks and twists make it a very promising beginning.
Once the film settles, originality is long gone! We settle on our leading lady Crystal (Betty Gilpin) who shows such strength that the hunters soon realise that they have picked on the wrong person. Gilpin to her credit is a revelation here, carrying the entire film on her shoulders with a kick ass attitude and tough as nails approach as she grabs the sluggish plot and makes it watchable!
While enough blood gets spilled to appease the gore-hounds, and Hilary Swank seems to be having a blast as the bad tough cookie Athena, there is a much needed pace to the proceedings as we quickly move from one set piece to the other, which means we never actually get bored at what is happening. even though we cry out for some tension or fear of danger.
While its billed as a satire, the humour is not as cutting as it thinks it is and many of the gags fall flat, while any surprises are guessed long before the actual reveal. The climax though offers up a satisfying showdown that plays like the extended scene of the Kill Bill Chapter 1 opener, with two characters really giving it their all in their fight to survive.
For a film that threatened so much, The Hunt delivers an empty promise, where we look at the film poster and wonder are we watching the right film?
For all its publicity and the bold threat that its a “Disturbance to Our Country”, The Hunt is nothing more than a shallow entry in a genre that has seen better films and if it wasn’t for the performance of Gilpin and an eye pleasing climax, this would have been nothing more than a tedious watch, that barely registers a tremor on the Richter Scale!
But at least it made me seek out my DVD copies of Surviving The Game and Hard Target for a long overdue watch!