Saturday, November 6, 2021

The Hunt

Movie Name:
The Hunt
Year of Release: 2020
Director: Craig Zobel
Starring: Betty Gilpin, Hilary Swank, Ike Barinholtz, Wayne Duvall, Ethan Suplee, Emma Roberts, Christopher Berry, Amy Madigan, Reed Birney, Glenn Howerton, Steve Coulter, Sturgill Simpson, Kate Nowlin, Vince Pisani
Genre: Action, Horror, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5
View Trailer

Synopsis and Review:
Following some work directing episodes for a variety of shows, including "Westworld", "American Gods" and "One Dollar", director Craig Zobel tackled the original script from Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof, in what became his more recent feature since "Z for Zachariah". The film focuses its attention on Crystal, who finds herself alongside a series of strangers in a clearing, with gags, and having to survive a series of attacks from people they don't know and can't see. They manage to get a hold of some guns and survival equipment, but quite a few of them get killed almost immediately, while others make their escape to the nearby forest. Crystal manages to overcome whatever is thrown at her, since as we later find out, she's had military training. As the casualties pile up, Crystal comes to realize what is taking place, and why these people were selected (and herself as well). She eventually takes it up to the leader of the group, who was part of devising the morbid hunt party.
"The Hunt" is a feature that has similarities to previous films on the topic of hunting humans, which includes John Woo's "Hard Target" and even Ernest R. Dickerson's "Surviving the Target". "The Hunt" however differs from those previously mentioned films in the sense that it has a streak of dark comedy pervading the narrative, something that clearly differentiates itself from those more action driven vehicles. For all its intelligence and its take on what is politically correct or not, it's still essentially a B-film with a solid group of actors, who sadly don't get to do much, since the script is more focused on the message that is trying to say, more so than actually showcase characters, or even their journeys for that matter. In the end it's an interesting exercise, but one that is hollow of meaning and substance, since most of the characters either get discarded almost instantly, or never get an opportunity to be introduced and developed properly. Betty Gilpin tries her best to ground and bring some edge to her character, but for all her energy, it still feels very unidimensional, the same going for Hilary Swank, her nemesis. It's a film that indeed wants to pose interesting questions about conspiracies, and even more largely about the state of the world, but fails to be effective since in essence it forgets one essential aspect: in order for someone to discuss or care about a message, the messenger also has to have some dimension, some voice to be heard, and in this case, there's a lot of splatter and violence, but very little substance. The cast is uniformly solid, as is the score from Nathan Barr and the cinematography from Darran Tiernan. It's watchable, but also quickly forgettable.