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The Hunt (2020) - Blu-ray Review

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The Hunt

What if they made a movie and nobody watched it?

That was the fear when the horror satire The Hunt was scheduled for release last fall before being delayed by a series of unfortunate events. First, it was the El Paso and Dayton mass shootings. Then a tweet about the film from our president which stirred outrage amongst conservative media outlets who were ill-advised on the film’s premise that features elite liberals hunting their political rivals for sport. Then came anger from the left when they postulated that liberals were portrayed as villains in the film. All this and no one had even seen the film yet!

 The Hunt finally gets its chance to poke fun at the absurdity of identity politics. And boy does it deliver the goods!


The film was practically doomed from the start, but after a six-month-long hiatus, The Hunt finally gets its chance to poke fun at the absurdity of identity politics. And boy does it deliver the goods!

Ironically enough, as it turns out, both sides assailing The Hunt as partisan propaganda were wrong. Both points of view are put squarely in the film’s cross hairs as bullets rip, knives slash, and arrows pierce with bipartisan fervor. Best step aside, lest your own personal leanings become fodder to the logic of insight and tolerance.

Taking on the absurdity of conspiracy theories, partisan politics, and the danger of judging others from first impressions, the satire in The Hunt is as subtle as a sledgehammer. Speaking of sledgehammers, the film is also one of the bloodiest, goriest, and most suspenseful films you’ll ever see with a body count that will certainly get John Wick’s attention. And it’s pretty darn funny too.

Born from the well-worn premise done much better in 1932’s RKO classic The Most Dangerous GameThe Hunt opens as yoga-panted blonde (Emma Roberts credited only as Yoga Pants. Get it? They are deplorables, undeserving of names) wakes up to discover she’s been drugged, gagged and dumped in the middle of a rural field along with a dozen or so others. {googleads}

Beside them is a wooden crate, a crowbar, and a padlock key. As they pry open the crate and use the key to unlock their mouth gags, we wonder if this is all some sort of intricate puzzle. Or is it a trap? Have they signaled the start of some kind of sadistic game? The latter proves true as shots ring out, heads splatter, and arrows pierce torsos. The Hunt is underway. Holy hell is it underway! 

Writers Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof borrow from Hitchcock’s Psycho as they immediately kill off, in the bloodiest of fashion, character after character, barely giving us a chance to latch on to anyone. No one is safe, be it from the hail of bullets, fusillade of land mines, or punji stick-laced pits. 

Everyone scrambles for cover like cockroaches until we eventually settle on one of the only named characters, Crystal (Betty Gilpin, Glow), a crafty, clever Southern badass and former military who’s up for the challenge to take on whoever, or whatever, is hunting them for sport. Will her street smarts be enough to get to the bottom of this power face-off? Not if Athena (Hilary Swank) has anything to do with it. The two end up in a final showdown, the likes of which we’ve rarely seen from a pair of femme fatales. It’s red state vs. blue state in the battle royale of the century with winner-take-all stakes. The Hunt

The Hunt is directed by Craig Zobel who is no novice with socially themed movies, having plied his craft previously on the whip-smart, ripped-from-the-headlines Compliance (2012), and proves equally up to the task here with The Hunt. With elements of a thriller, horror, comedy, and political satire, the degree of difficulty in getting the tone just right is through the roof with this thing. But Zobel does a bang-up job of balancing the film’s varied elements and themes. He leans into the absurdity of it all while also delivering an expertly crafted bloodbath that will undoubtedly stand the test of time as a cult horror fave.

Also starring Ethan Suplee, Wayne Duvall, Ike Barenholtz, and Amy Madigan, The Hunt is well-acted enough to elevate the story above its gory violence. However, it isn’t necessarily a smart film, nor is it particularly clever with themes, references, and humor that are always over the top and in your face. And that’s kind of the point Cuse and Lindelof are making with the film. In fact, what is more ridiculous and over the top than pre-judging a film even before its release? First impressions are almost always wrong and in this case those preconceived notions got the film’s release pushed back six months. Congratulations!

 Throw aside your political leanings and give The Hunt a shot. The Hunt is on!

4/5 stars

The Hunt

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Universal
Available on Blu-ray
- June 9, 2020
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; Spanish: DTS 5.1; French (Canada): DTS 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set; DVD copy; Digital copy
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Fans of hyper violent action flicks rejoice!  In this subversive satire, a group of elites gather for the very first time at a remote Manor House to hunt ordinary Americans for sport. But the elites' master plan is about to be derailed because one of The Hunted, Crystal (Betty Gilpin, Glow), knows The Hunters' game better than they do. She turns the tables on the killers, picking them off one by one as she makes her way toward the mysterious woman (two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank) at the center of it all.

Video

Presented in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, The Hunt is a gore-fest of the best kind.  This MPEG-4 AVC-encoded BD-50 release comes from Universal after a lot of delays due to mass shootings in El, Paso and Dayton and then delayed again due to COVID-19.  It seems fitting considering the political and social commentary the movie is making.  The picture is filled with deep reds and darker than blue tones.  While it is soft in a few areas, Cinematographer Darran Tiernan makes up for that with cold and crisp interiors and strong outdoor visuals, represented by dark browns and greens..

Audio:

The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 is intense, throbbing, and lets you hear and feel every bone break, every skin gash, and all the ooey gooey blood splatter fall around you.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There is none.

With no commentary and only a few supplemental items covering the making of the movie, the make-up effects in the movie, and cast interviews, there’s not a lot offered here.

  • Crafting THE HUNT (5 min)
  • Death Scene Breakdowns (3 min)
  • Athena vs. Crystal: Hunter or Hunted? (3 min)

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

4/5 stars

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The Hunt (2019)

MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence, and language throughout.
Runtime:
89 mins
Director
: Craig Zobel
Writer:
Nick Cuse, Damon Lindelof
Cast:
Betty Gilpin, Hilary Swank, Ike Barinholtz
Genre
: Comedy | Horror
Tagline:
The Most Talked About Movie of the Year is One That No One's Actually Seen.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Every year those liberal elites kidnap a bunch of normal folks like us and hunt us for sport."
Theatrical Distributor:
Universal
Official Site: https://www.thehunt.movie
Release Date:
June 9, 2020
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
 No details available.
Synopsis: Twelve strangers wake up in a clearing. They don't know where they are, or how they got there. They don't know they've been chosen - for a very specific purpose - The Hunt.

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The Hunt (2019)

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