The Hunt is a silly, politically-flavoured horror-comedy masquerading as satire. While it ultimately thinks it has more to say than it does, it’s still endlessly, mindlessly fun.
The Hunt imagines a conspiracy called ManorGate, in which liberal elites kidnap “normal folks” (read: conspiracy-minded conservatives) and hunt them for sport in a way reminiscent of The Most Dangerous Game (with a bit of The Hunger Games thrown in). After a short intro, the film opens with twelve people, bound and gagged, waking up in a booby-trapped forest, unaware of their location, and left to fend for themselves. As the twelve are killed off, the few survivors are left to hunt down the masterminds behind ManorGate and escape back to their respective homes.
The main point of The Hunt seems to be to point out and ridicule political stereotypes. The “bad guys” constantly point out each other’s privilege, talk about their charity work, and are utterly helpless with guns. Meanwhile, every “good guy” is adept with guns, and several of them repeatedly mention the Second Amendment, or use words like “globalists” to refer to the liberal elite. At its best, the writing comes across as helplessly on-the-nose, but at least self-aware; at its worst, it seems like it was written by a fourteen-year-old who’s been on Facebook too much.
That said, The Hunt has plenty of redeeming features. Most notably, the action – directed by Craig Zobel with Hank Amos coordinating stunts – is excellent. The final fight scene featuring two female leads utilizes an entire house, smartly drifting between rooms and outside, showing off the entirety of Matthew Munn’s production design.
Easily the best scene in the film happens within the first twenty minutes. Utilizing the fact that most of The Hunt’s cast are relative unknowns, scenes follow each of the twelve victims for various lengths of time as they are killed off one by one, keeping the audience guessing as to who is the actual protagonist of the film.
The Hunt gets by mostly on momentum from the first scene. While the film slows down after the first third, the stellar action and brain-dead-but-still-funny political humour is enough to keep it entertaining for the rest of its ninety-minute runtime.