“The Hunt” is a movie from Blumhouse Productions that received criticism before it was released. The premise of the movie is similar to “The Most Dangerous Game,” where a group of 12 strangers are being hunted by a group of elites. The hunted group is referred to as ‘deplorables’, a term used by Hillary Clinton during her 2016 presidential campaign. This caused major backlash, which included a tweet from President Donald Trump calling liberal Hollywood racist. Test audiences also expressed a lot of discomfort with the politics of the film.
The movie was originally scheduled to be released on Sept. 27, 2019, but was rescheduled for March 13, 2020, after mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas. Following the movie’s new release date, promotional materials were remade to include negative media reviews and taglines like “the most talked-about movie of the year is one that no one’s actually seen” and “decide for yourself.”
While the trailer makes it seem like the movie targets one group over the other, both sides of the political spectrum are shown to be over-exaggerated versions of themselves. One of the prey calls real refugees “crisis actors,” and another says he owns seven guns because he believes in the Second Amendment. But the movie doesn’t target conservatives. The elites are shown to be just as helpless throughout the film, constantly arguing amongst each other about being politically correct.
The movie is no different from a “Family Guy” or “South Park” episode in making fun of both sides. When the hunted could have been shown as stupid, most of them are smarter than the elites hunting them.
The smartest of the hunted is a woman named Crystal from Mississippi. Despite the stereotype of Mississippians being the dumbest in the United States, Crystal is able to outsmart the hunters and is smarter than Hilary Swank’s character and leader of the elites, Athena.
For a movie described as an attack on conservatives, it makes the elites unlikable and makes the audience feel sorry for the prey.
The plot has a group of businesspeople getting fired for a text thread joking about hunting down “deplorables”. When the text thread leaked, forums and podcasters started to react, criticising the thread’s participants. These are the people chosen to be hunted.
The ending even reveals the members of the text group were only joking about hunting “deplorables, but started the hunt to prove their initial opinions of those groups. As confusing as it may sound, Athena says the hunt started because people kept saying it happened. So they proved them right.
“The Hunt” did not deserve the criticism it originally received. It might have used the word “deplorable,” but other than that, it never mentioned Trump or Republicans. The tagline, then, is very fitting: watch the movie and decide what it is for yourself.