The following contains mild spoilers.
The movie “The Hunt” was cancelled late last year in a wave of allegations and bad publicity. The majority of the negative publicity around the film came from the Right and conservative commentators.
It’s easy to see why a superficial look at the premise of the movie got so many people excited and angry. From the trailer, the plot of “The Hunt” was clearly about a bunch of ultra-wealthy liberals who arrange the kidnapping of “deplorables” (yes they actually use that term) and then hunt them to death in a vast rural enclosure.
That is indeed the plot of the movie, but the film is also so much more. No conservative (or liberal) should miss seeing this new film.
In fact, “The Hunt” unexpectedly turns the tables as the elite make the fatal mistake of underestimating the “rednecks.” Doesn’t that sound familiar? Eventually, the movie becomes a battle of intelligence, resourcefulness and stamina between those who believe they are superior and those who have to fight for survival every day.
If “The Hunt” were only about this it would be worth the visit to the theater, but the movie is about so much more. It manages to bring home the devastating consequences of having your career and future cancelled over a single, poorly worded private joke. It also looks at how social media mobs can compound the damage.
“The Hunt” explores these issues and then allows the victims to indulge in a fantasy revenge which is wildly disproportionate to what the people wrote about them. But then isn’t most reaction on social media wildly disproportionate to reality?
Writers Nick Cuse (“The Leftovers,” “Lost”) and Damon Lindelof (“The Leftovers,” “The Lost,” “Watchmen”) and director Craig Zobel (“Compliance”) throw lots of mud at both sides, the elites and the deplorables, but “The Hunt” seems to take particular pleasure in poking fun at the political correctness and hypocrisies of the elites.
Don’t believe the reviews that tell you that this is an “equal opportunity attack on both sides of America’s political divide.” It’s not. “The Hunt” is a movie for those who feel Hollywood hates them. It is the perfect revenge fantasy for MAGA supporters who feel they have been attacked, abused and sometimes “hunted” by the elites since before the last election.
One memorable scene features an elite couple murdering deplorables without a care but then criticizing each other about using politically incorrect terminology in their conversation. The deplorables — as in all horror movies — die in increasingly inventive and sometimes gory ways but then, as the tables are turned, so do the elites. But no one is allowed to die without a joke or sometimes a political point being made. Sometimes both. There is a lot in the movie for those who love politics, horror and humor.
And, of course, there is the perfect climax with representatives of both sides fighting it out to the death. The standout star is Crystal (Betty Gilpin of “GLOW”) who is cynical, intelligent and resourceful and who uses all her backstory to maximum use to survive, literally turning the tables on her hunters. For one elite to be outsmarted by her is fatal, but the ultimate humiliation is to realize that Crystal actually reads books and can argue intelligently about what they mean.
Conservatives are so used to being abused and attacked by Hollywood that their initial reaction to “The Hunt” is probably understandable, but it would be a pity if this kept them from seeing the movie.
In the end, very few of the characters escape criticism or death, but “The Hunt” is a movie that predominantly humanizes the deplorables and satirizes the elites. This is a movie for those who have spent decades condemning Hollywood for attacking their values. “The Hunt” doesn’t and, in a sly way, it almost celebrates them. For this, the movie deserves conservatives’ support.
“The Hunt” (rated R) opens Friday, March 13th.