If you’ve ever wanted to see a screenplay with the energy of Saving Private Ryan play out in a horror context, the latest Blumhouse film has you covered. Once The Hunt‘s relentless, gratuitously ultra-violent killing spree starts, it refuses to let up until it thinks you’ve had enough. Then, it gives you twenty more minutes of carnage until it interrupts you for some unnecessary exposition.
The story unfolds with a series of text messages setting up the premise, which, assuming you’ve seen the trailer, you already know. Liberal elite millionaires round up salt-of-the-earth conservatives and hunt them for sport. Why this was set up as ‘left vs right’ is anyone’s guess. The strong political overtones are the one thing threatening to bog down an otherwise fast-paced, kinetic killing spree of a movie. The message, frankly, is hard to ignore, and it wants us to not believe every conspiracy theory that we see…or something.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t fucking matter because Betty Gilpin (GLOW, The Grudge) kicks some serious fucking ass. She squares off against Hilary Swank (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Million Dollar Baby) in an epic showdown that, while predictable, still brings the house down. The rest of the cast, including fan favorites like Ike Barinholtz (Suicide Squad, Bright), Ethan Suplee (Mallrats, My Name Is Earl), and Emma Roberts (American Horror Story, The Blackcoat’s Daughter) are varying degrees of expendable, but still bring plenty of personality to bear in the critical opening scenes.
Make no mistake—The Hunt is not a movie to watch for the story, or even the message. Yes, the acting could have been better. Goddamn do I wish Swank could have had a bigger role. And, yes, Gilpin, at times, seems invincible and omniscient, as she exhibits the awareness and skepticism of someone who seems to know she’s in a movie. Despite all of that, this movie can still be enjoyed for what it is: senseless violence, brutal kills, and grotesque imagery, logic be damned! I feel like it’s been years since Blumhouse gave us something this visceral and violent.
If your date starts complaining about the story or the logic of the movie, tell them to shut the fuck up, eat some popcorn, and get ready to watch some goddamn heads explode!
The Hunt opens in theaters nationwide on Friday, March 13th, 2020.