The Hunt follows a group of twelve strangers who wake up in a field at a place called ‘The Manor’, with no understanding of why they are there.
Finding a large crate full of weapons, they arm themselves before quickly getting picked off one by one by a bunch of wealthy elites who are hunting them. Things get out of hand for the rich scumbags when one of the victims, Southern belle Crystal (an excellent Betty Gilpin), fights back and goes on a one-woman crusade of revenge.
From then on it’s a game of cat-and-mouse as Crystal first tries to escape the hunters before deciding to confront them head-on. The script, written by Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof, tries to be a little too clever for its own good at times, which is no surprise when you consider Lindelof’s involvement. The man responsible for hit television series Lost and Watchmen always brings fresh and creative ideas to the table, but executing them isn’t always his specialty.
The key elements of Lindelof’s story are nothing new. The Ice-T classic Surviving the Game (1994), Van Damme’s Hard Target (1993) and Schwarzenegger’s The Running Man (1987) all center on groups of people being hunted for sport, and they all do it better.
What sets The Hunt apart is its high production values and colorful cast of characters. Gilpin is fantastic as the dry Crystal and Hilary Swank excels as main baddie Athena. The supporting cast includes a number of familiar faces, including Emma Roberts, Ike Barinholtz, Ethan Suplee, and musician Sturgill Simpson as the extremely annoying Vanilla Nice.
The Hunt isn’t terrible, however, as some of the deaths and comedic moments are great, but as a social and political satire, it doesn’t really work, which takes away from the overall enjoyment of the film. If you want to watch a fantastic social satire check out Idiocracy (2006), otherwise, The Hunt works better as a dark thriller film with a splattering of laughs and violence.
The screenwriters described the final fight between Crystal and Athena as “John Wick in a Nancy Myers movie.”