It’s easy to see why The Hunt was shelved last year following a spate of mass shootings in the US. Not because it’s violent – it is, but not emphatically more so than many other films released since – but because it treats said violence like a particularly dark Chuck Jones cartoon. This is a film with its tongue so firmly in cheek that it’s burrowed out the side of its face.

Craig Zobel wastes no time in establishing his twist on The Most Dangerous Game: the hunters are a group of wealthy liberals, while their prey probably all have red baseball caps in their closets. It was enough to work up the ire of the current president, though one suspects he’d actually enjoy The Hunt if he had the time (and attention span) to watch it. 

The script, by Nick Cuse and Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof, has tremendous fun skewering the piety of many self-proclaimed ‘woke’ people, and even provides a pretty pointed explanation for how the hunt of the title came into being. It’s just a shame that the ideas are reinforced with an over-reliance on buzzwords that are sure to prematurely age the movie.

Still, even when the satire stumbles, it remains a riotously entertaining watch thanks to some inventive action scenes and two great lead performances. Betty Gilpin is brilliantly sardonic as our hero, equal parts Sarah Connor and Beatrix Kiddo, while Hilary Swank wrings every last drop out of her scant screen time as the organiser of the hunt. Who knew a cheese toastie could be so menacing?

The controversy surrounding it may have proved to be a damp squib, but The Hunt is another pleasant surprise from Blumhouse – like The Invisible Man, it’s a modern twist on a classic story that also manages to find something thought-provoking to say.



CAST: Betty Gilpin, Hilary Swank, Emma Roberts, Ike Barinholtz, Wayne Duvall, Ethan Suplee

DIRECTOR: Craig Zobel

WRITERS: Nick Cuse, Damon Lindelof

SYNOPSIS: Twelve strangers wake up in a clearing. They don’t know where they are, or how they got there. They don’t know they’ve been chosen for a very specific purpose: the Hunt.