By Juan Calvillo
Blumhouse Productions and Universal Pictures released the action packed thriller “The Hunt” on video-on-demand, giving audiences something fun to watch while home. COVID-19 has changed the way audiences consume media so some companies are giving their movies a chance to survive by releasing them online. “The Hunt” is among these movies.
Blumhouse is known primarily for its horror-based movies, but this title diverts from the standard jump scare flick. Some people might have seen the trailer and immediately drawn comparisons with the “Hungers Games” formula of battle royal. Fortunately, the movie takes the premise in a unique direction and manages to give this movie a soul and the chance to make a point.
“The Hunt” focuses on a set of characters that are being hunted by a group of elitist people. Oddly enough, this might sound like “The Purge” franchise, but the movie twists that tired narrative on its head. Audiences will see early on just what the switch is and it might lead the movie to be a bit divisive.
The movie takes the strife that is currently embroiling the United States and lays it bare for the audience to see. It shows the sheer silliness of those on either extreme side of the divide that currently passes as perspective in most people’s mind, but it doesn’t stop there. It actually admonishes both sides by showing how those that think they are in the right might actually make mistakes and not even know it as well as pointing out that sometimes things are simply wished into being due to the hatred that is constantly spewed by all manner of folk.
Every member of the cast is somewhat forgettable and the movie seems to ask that of the characters. Each one is an “extreme something.” Either too conservative, or too liberal, either a climate change denier or an online troll. The only exceptions are the main characters played by Betty Gilpin, who plays Crystal, and Hilary Swank, who plays Athena.
Swank plays her character with enough menace and haughtiness that audiences will instantly root against her. The character’s explanation of why the elite group is doing all this killing is impossible to justify. Although one thing her character says is quite interesting and adds another layer to the movie. Without spoiling anything, audiences can be left to imagine if the things they believe are real or if the things are real because they believed in them.
Gilpin has the chance to play a total badass character in “The Hunt.” Crystal is shown, from the minute the audience meets her, to be a resourceful and scrappy fighter. As the movie goes on, it explains why she is the focused kicker of all the butt in the movie.
“The Hunt” was originally scheduled to release last September, but was rescheduled after a series of mass shootings shocked the US. The release date was moved to March 13.
“The Hunt” is an extremely violent movie. The action scenes are well directed and the writing is smart enough to make people think for just a moment before another character gets shot in the face or chest. It also has enough sly humor to make all the insanity passable. “The Hunt” is available on VOD for streaming on various online services and retails at $19.99. The movie is rated “R” for strong bloody violence and language throughout.