Starring: Betty Gilpin, Ike Barinholtz, Emma Roberts
Director: Craig Zobel
Running Time: 90 mins
The Hunt is an American film about a group of people who wake up one day in the middle of a nondescript field, and soon discover they are being hunted for sport, but they don’t know why.
For a film that is undeniably ridiculous from beginning to end (and frankly a little on the stupid side), I had so much fun with The Hunt. Despite a mass of flaws that make it at times non-sensical and disjointed, it’s a film with great humour, fun-loving action and a thirst for mystery.
And it’s that enthusiasm and energy that really makes The Hunt such a fun film throughout. From the start, it’s filled with a manic air of mystery and confusion, as a dozen seemingly innocent people find themselves being viciously hunted without any apparent reason why.
There’s a brief prologue that hints at the idea – although without it, the film could have got off to an even more delightfully bewildering start.
The opening moments of the hunt itself are non-stop brilliance, as the film shocks and surprises with both brutal violence, unexpected twists and hilarious laughs – all within the space of just a few minutes.
Saying that, the film does feel like it’s having its cake and eating it a little too quickly, as after a whirlwind opening ten minutes or so, it crashes back down to earth without any apparent way forward, and takes a good while to find the same electrifying blend of action and mystery again.
The majority of the film is a lot slower than those opening moments, although there’s still enough anarchic, fun-loving madness going on both in the background and in front of the camera to provide some good thrills and spills.
In the lead role, Betty Gilpin brilliantly keeps the energy going even at the times when the film’s story either flails or strays into purely non-sensical territory. The moments without Gilpin are certainly the weakest, while her starring moments are filled with charisma and an extremely likable, down-to-earth aura.
On top of that, the film’s sense of humour is what makes it really stand out. It’s more than just a ridiculous comedy-horror, because it’s injected with a self-deprecating brand of politically charged humour that brilliantly makes fun of both sides in polarised modern-day society.
It’s easy to take political themes and turn them into a rant or a pointed attack (and there are times when this film is a little too on the nose), but The Hunt does a great job at balancing its humour and satire out on both sides of the debate.
As a result, it’s easy to enjoy this film just as a fun, crazy comedy, but its politically-charged humour gives it an extra dynamic, and takes some attention away from what is a fairly ridiculous plot.
Overall, The Hunt is a heap of fun throughout, with bizarre mystery, anarchic, political and self-aware comedy, great action and an excellent central performance. It’s far from a masterpiece, and is full of flaws, but with great energy, humour and fun-loving ridiculousness, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable watch. And that’s why I’m giving it a 7.3.