Blumhouse Productions is known for producing horror films that have received a lot of praise. These include Paranormal Activity, Sinister, The Purge and even recently, The Invisible Man.
However The Hunt, Blumhouse’s latest venture, is not only a terrible reflection on the production company, but also one of the worst films to hit theaters in the past few years.
The film follows twelve strangers who wake up gagged and tied, not knowing where they are. They soon figure out they’re in the midst of an internet conspiracy theory, where liberal elitists gather at a manor in Croatia and hunt Republicans for sport. However one of the hunted, Crystal (Betty Gilpin), fights back and decides not to quit until she’s made it out alive.
Already the plot of the film spells trouble for controversy. Though it was a goal of screenplay writers Damon Lindelof and Nick Cuse to spark controversy, the biggest issue with the screenplay and film is that they never take a side. It begins as a way to blatantly slander liberals by making it seem like the “liberal elites” are hunting Republicans, making the Republicans the victim, but then quickly shifts gears to making fun of the way Republicans act and talk.
Stereotypes are heavily used throughout the film. From a liberal being offended by the abstract use of the word “guys” directed toward a group, to Republicans being deemed “rednecks” and speaking with heavy southern accents. The stereotypes on each side are used to make fun of and identify faults with both political parties, but they’re used ineffectively.
For those who argue the film does take a side with one party or the other, the point of no sides taken is further proved by the main protagonist, Crystal. Gilpin’s character is the only one to eventually come out on top, but her character is the only one whose political ideologies are never revealed. She’s the one the audience is supposed to identify with and essentially “root for” throughout the film, but you never find out what her political affiliation is.
That’s not to say that Gilpin’s character isn’t great, because she is. Frankly, Crystal and Athena (Hillary Swank) are two complex characters who probably could’ve shined if given a more thought-out storyline and better dialogue, because there are very few, if any, moments where the dialogue is well thought out in the film. It’s always frustrating as an audience member to watch characters who have potential be outshined by the horrific nature of a failed film.
The only argument that could be made for a solidified purpose to the film would be to highlight that both sides have their faults and issues, and neither is right 100% of the time. But the reality of the film is that a lot of the identified faults are incorrect or moot points. There’s a lot of mixing of ideology where liberal characters will say conservative ideology or conservatives will spew liberal ideology, and it makes the film lose what little integrity it tries to cling to.
The bottom line is, the audience leaves not knowing what they’re supposed to take away from it. Though it’s unclear to audiences what point the writers are trying to make, it seems especially clear that the writers themselves were even unsure. Watching The Hunt feels like watching two men simply try to spew a lot of stereotypical beliefs from both sides to rile people up, and then leave them with nothing concrete or useful to take away.
Between the overused violence aspects and the polarizing spewing of information—mostly stereotypical—some audience members verbally debated walking out of the film during its screening. It truly deserves no viewership, and absolutely no praise.