Quick-fire entertainment with a satirical twist
FILM REVIEW: THE HUNT (15), PREMIUM VIDEO ON DEMAND, VIEWED ON AMAZON PRIME, OUT NOW
CAST: BETTY GILPIN, HILARY SWANK, IKE BARINHOLTZ, WAYNE DUVALL, ETHAN SUPLEE, STURGILL SIMPSON, AMY MADIGAN, REED BIRNEY & EMMA ROBERTS
RUNNING TIME: 1 HR 30 MINS, DIRECTOR: CRAIG ZOBEL
With the coronavirus ‘lockdown’ in place, movie distributors have made history by launching films on an ‘early access’ Premium Video on Demand service – after only being released at the cinema in the past few weeks.
While the price is a little heftier than usual – about the cost of a ticket and a half at £15.99 to try to recoup some of that cinematic lost revenue – one film that didn’t have time to flourish at the cinema was this noteworthy satirical action-thriller that sees the ‘elite’ hunt human ‘reprobates’ for sport.
But while it might not be as clever as it thinks it is, there’s enough smart twists and turns – with a plentiful supply of ‘firmly-embedded-in-cheek’ humour – to make this a little bit different.
And there’s a great lead performance from Betty Gilpin, who has already shined on Netflix’s wrestling-based TV series Glow.
But if you’re expecting a paint-by-numbers actioner solely based on humans hunting humans – like the Steve Austin-led The Condemned or Ice T-headlining Surviving the Game – then you may be a tad disappointed.
This is not an adult version of The Hunger Games that some may crave – as this is just a backdrop to the social commentary it’s trying to portray.
When 12 strangers – including Gilpin, Bad Neighbours’ star Ike Barinholtz and We’re the Millers actress Emma Roberts – wake up on the outskirts of a forest, they don’t know why they are there, or that they’ve been chosen for a specific purpose, known as The Hunt.
This is an event that has been organised by a group of ‘snobby’ rich people – led by Oscar-winner Hilary Swank (Million Dollar Baby) – to have fun ‘taking out’ people ‘beneath them’ that have battled ‘the system’.
But they don’t realise they have ex-military in their midst in the form of Gilpin’s Afghanistan-serving Crystal Creasey, and when mayhem takes centre stage over politics – this was originally delayed from release last year in the wake of the El Paso supermarket shootings in America – it never really takes itself too seriously.
And for a night in isolation, hunting this down for quick-fire bloody entertainment with a satirical twist isn’t a bad move – as this will take the worry of the coronavirus out of your cross hairs for at least ninety minutes.
By Gavin Miller
More by this authorJeremy Ransome