Review: The Hunt (15)

Harriet Metcalfe examines the latest film from controversial director Craig Zobel. Is it alt-right propoganda?

Harriet Metcalfe
23rd March 2020
The Hunt follows the events of twelve strangers, who wake up in a field with no idea where they are, let alone how they got there. In a Hunger Games-esque Cornucopia they find weapons, but it’s only when they start getting shot at that they realise what's going on. They’ve all heard rumours of ‘Manor-gate’, a twisted game where liberal elites hunt "deplorables" (yep they use that word) for fun – but is it real? And why were they chosen?
Craig Zobel is one of the most divisive film directors of the modern horror scene. Image:IMDB

Marketed as anything and everything between horror, thriller, action and satire; the glaring problem with The Hunt is that it doesn’t know what it wants to be. References to racial tension, gun laws, freedom of speech, race, fake news, constitutional rights, privilege, elitism and feminism make the film a mish-mash of every trending topic on Twitter – whilst attempts at satire feel more like ill-judged jokes. The film wants to say something, but the script has such clunky dialogue that it can’t decide what. If they'd really leaned into the concept of the privileged elite hunting the poor, and had less gratuitous violence, The Hunt could have been a much more impactful film - but it tries too hard to cover everything at once.

Director Craig Zobel is no stranger to controversry having faced a mixed response to his 2012 film Compliance. Some have praised him as one of the bravest horror makers around, while others accuse him of shocking just for the sake of shocking.

However, kudos has to go to the marketing team. Any pre-conceptions are stripped from you in the first ten minutes, to the point where I almost thought I’d walked into the wrong screen. There’s some pretty incredible performances here as well, and the choreography of fight sequences are undeniably impressive, but ruined by dialogue that simply doesn’t fit. 

The Hunt was supposed to be released last year, but after two mass shootings in the US there was huge backlash over the premise. Now the coronavirus is here and it feels like there was never going to be a good time for this film to be released. So if you’re planning on making one last trip to the cinema before we’re all in quarantine… then please for the love of god, do not let it be The Hunt

Rating: 2/5 

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AUTHOR: Harriet Metcalfe
English Literature BA student. Loves film, TV, books and coffee. Thinks "Thor: The Dark World" gets too much hate. Twitter: @hattiemetcalfe

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