The Hunt (4 stars)

The Hunt

Betty Gilpin is gloriously unpredictable in a highly entertaining satirical horror

GLOW's Betty Gilpin is the star of the show in a hilarious and gory political satire that pokes fun at the liberal elite. This Blumhouse-produced horror is directed by Compliance's Craig Zobel, while the script comes courtesy of Damon Lindelof, the co-creator of Lost and The Leftovers, who collaborates with Leftovers' staff writer Nick Cuse.

Loosely based on Richard Connell's 1924 short story 'The Most Dangerous Game', The Hunt's original release was pulled following a pair of mass shootings and thinly veiled criticism from Donald Trump himself. The first trailer depicted the rich hunting the poor, and made direct reference to Hillary Clinton's 'basket of deplorables' comment about Trump supporters. That the film was then effectively cancelled by the POTUS feeds into its Orwellian narrative about dangers in the age of social media, fake news and conspiracy theories.

It's re-emerged wearing that controversy as a badge of honour, with a narrative that sees 12 people kidnapped and deposited in grand manor grounds with no idea of what is happening. Presented with an arsenal of firepower, they soon learn they need to defend themselves against a group of anonymous shooters and a literal minefield of traps. The gonzo violence brings to mind Christopher Smith's 2006 horror comedy Severance and the stinging humour is akin to Jordan Peele's Get Out. Lindelof and Cuse's loaded comedy takes aim at all kinds of Twitter archetypes, the hypocrisy of certain brands, and at showboating humanitarian work, as it peels back power dynamics.

The fast-paced action is handled with relish by Zobel, who has a blast with flying limbs, dangling intestines and hand-to-hand combat. Gilpin turns in a gloriously unpredictable performance as one of the hunted, Crystal. At times, she has the gait of Jason Voorhees, while her silence at vital moments speaks volumes, as she opts for odd facial expressions and to thoughtfully question the information she is offered. She's joined by a cast of familiar faces, including Hilary Swank, Ike Barinholtz, Emma Roberts and Amy Madigan, to name but a few; to go into further detail on their roles would be to give the game away, and what an entertaining game it is.

General release from Wed 11 Mar.

The Hunt

  • 4 stars
  • 2020
  • 1h 55min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Craig Zobel
  • Cast: Betty Gilpin, Ethan Suplee, Emma Roberts

Twelve people are kidnapped and placed in the grounds of a manor, where they’re armed and told to defend themselves from anonymous shooters. Hilarious and gory satire that pokes fun at the liberal elite, with a gloriously unpredictable performance from Gilpin as Crystal, one of the hunted.