"The Hunt"

“The Hunt” is a fantastic commentary on today’s political division.

"The Hunt," is a politically charged version of “The Most Dangerous Game” that’s unafraid of upsetting people with stereotypes. While not an entirely original concept, the film leans into politics and makes fun of both liberals and conservatives in a hilariously violent satire of modern-day America.

In the plot, 11 Internet conspiracy theorists are kidnapped by liberal elites after they accuse them of hunting humans for sport based on leaked texts. Chaos ensues as the theorists find guns in the middle of a field and are quickly fired on, resulting in a few deaths. From there, the goal of survival becomes clear as they attempt to turn the tables on the hunters.

Violence is prevalent throughout to show humor and the grotesque nature of humankind. This includes a man trying to help the injured in the field and stepping on a landmine that liquifies him and spreads his blood in a wide radius. A headstrong man also charges at a sniper with machine guns blazing and is quickly mowed down like an idiot, unlike the heroic stance this type of move usually portrays in a movie. Another joke includes the elites’ lack of knowledge while hunting, causing them to make poor decisions such as not pulling the pin in a grenade the first time on a target knocked over by arrows.

Certain traps also act to show humanity’s occasional cruelty. Poisoned food is left around to leave the conspiracy theorists writhing in agony for several seconds. Paralyzing gases are used on others so the elites can enjoy slowly beating the now-powerless people to death for as long as they please. While an angled shot of someone falling down a hole is funny at first, the humor quickly fades when it’s revealed that the hole is a spike pit that leaves the victim asking for someone nearby to shoot them for a quicker death.

Few characters have interesting personalities; instead, they’re textbook examples of what liberals and conservatives imagine the other as. Many politically charged terms are used, including “snowflake,” “redneck” and “deplorable.” The film often uses these bait phrases to prove that no matter which side is right, both jump to conclusions and insult the other without the full picture. 

Other political issues are brought up by the elites, such as when they make fun of political correctness by cutting each other off during arguments. Included in this is the fact that most of them are white — one wears a kimono, which they view as appropriation — and the group includes a minority just for the sake of inclusivity. They also name some political issues as being the reason certain conspiracy theorists were chosen to be hunted, including the denial of climate change. Each of these situations is blown far out of proportion, becoming absurd examples of political divides in the nation and each party.

The only characters with their own personalities are Crystal (Betty Gilpin) and Athena (Hillary Swank). Crystal quickly proves to be the most interesting character, with her survival skills helping others. She’s able to spot traps that others may have fallen for, including a booby-trapped truck and a fake gas station. Athena is the only elite to have gone through any sort of training, making her the conspiracy theorists’ greatest challenge.

“The Hunt” is a fantastic commentary on today’s division. Points are accentuated with extreme violence rather than reasoning to show the absurd nature of modern politics. Insults are flung all around at every political affiliation, which is sure to bother some audience members. The only offensive part of this movie is how few people will go out to see it, not the caricatures presented.

Contact Caleb Barbachem at barbaccf@dukes.jmu.edu. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.