Movie Reviews: The Hunt




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(from left) Athena (Hilary Swank) and Crystal (Betty Gilpin) in The Hunt
     Universal Pictures (1hr. 55 mins.)
     Twelve strangers battle to stay alive while being hunted for sport.
     Betty Gilpin, Hilary Swank, Ike Barinholtz, Wayne Duvall
Bottom Line:

Samantha Ofole-Prince

Twelve strangers wake up in a field, gagged, unarmed and with no clue where they are, or how they got there, but as the day progresses, they discover they have been chosen for a very specific purpose – to be hunted and killed by a group of elites with a grudge. That's the premise of this satirical horror flick, which ?has action, suspense and drama? and is a great cautionary tale of how wrong first impressions can be.

Betty Gilpin as Crystal in The Hunt

Riveting from the first scene to the last, it's an action-thriller-suspense movie with a very high-violent body count, that explores conspiracy theories. The brilliance of "The Hunt" is that its not immediately clear what the strangers have in common with each other, and that makes it harder to understand what the agenda of those hunting them might be, which nicely drives the story.

Directed by Craig Zobel and produced by Jason Blum and his Blumhouse Productions (“The Purge,” “Get Out,”), most of the hunted strangers are nameless and meet violent ends, but there’s always a hero and she’s Crystal, played by Betty Gilpin, (“Glow”), a menacing, unstoppable assassin who remains stoic and steadfast throughout the film in her pursuit of those hunting her, methodically killing each one off one by one till she gets to the ringleader Athena (Hilary Swank).

Members of the hunted (from left, Ike Barinholz, back to camera, Justin Hartley, Kate Nowlin), including Daisy (Emma Roberts) and Don (Wayne Duvall)

Unlike almost all genre films, the two principal roles of “The Hunt,” villain and hero, are both women who ultimately face off in a battle of brains and brawn with a brilliant fight scene where kitchen gadgets, appliances and utensils are turned into weapons. It’s a lengthy fight scene reminiscent of the one between Vivica A. Fox and Uma Thurman in Quentin Tarantino’s 2003 film “Kill Bill.”

In a digital age, with the dissemination of fake news, an assumption, accusation, email, text or message can be the spark that ignites a controversy, destroying reputations and wrecking lives and that’s ultimately the frightening and dark premise of “The Hunt.”

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