THE HUNT – Review by Susan Granger

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Because of political controversy, the initial 2019 release of The Hunt was delayed following mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas; now it’s in theaters during a pandemic. Go figure!

Taking its cue from Richard Connell’s The Most Dangerous Game, it depicts wealthy, heavily armed elites exercising their Second Amendment right against a dozen drugged/kidnapped/gagged victims, stalking them as sport on a private game reserve in Croatia.

As the opening text notes: “Nothing better than going out to the Manor and slaughtering a dozen deplorables.”

Snarling Southerner Crystal May Creesy (Betty Gilpin) is ex-military, having served in combat in Afghanistan. She’s an enigmatic survivalist, determined to wreak revenge on her captors, particularly the group’s leader, Athena (Hilary Swank). In the press notes, their pivotal hand-to-hand confrontation is described as “John Wick in a Nancy Meyers movie.”

Obviously, Lost/Leftovers screenwriters Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof, working with director Craig Zobel (Compliance), intended to create a provocative social satire/cultural commentary about class conflict and the ruthless abuse of power, but they fail miserably.

Both the predators and prey are sloppy, shallow, stereotyped caricatures, as opposed to subversive characters, dubbing their conspiratorial hunting endeavor as “Manor-gate.”

There’s even a pig named Orwell, referencing George Orwell’s Animal Farm, and a revision of The Tortoise and the Hare fable.

The quickly disposable supporting cast includes Ike Barinholtz, Emma Roberts, Ethan Suplee, Reed Birney, Amy Madigan, Kate Nowlin and Glenn Howerton.

Produced by Jason Blum for about $15 million, it’s filled with graphic, gory, R-rated exploitation, falling into the brutal Blumhouse horror/thriller genre, which includes The Purge, Get Out, Us, and most recently The Invisible Man.

FYI: Previous film adaptations of Connell’s 1924 short story include “The Most Dangerous Game” (1932), Hard Target (1993), Surviving the Game (1994), The Pest (1997) and The Eliminator (2004).

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, The Hunt is an angry, insufferable 3, filled with schlocky, blood-splattered mayhem. Keep your distance

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.