The Hunt (2020)
Wow, only Ethan Suplee has the privilege of being credited with playing the role of '(Shut the F**k Up) Gary' on his IMDB, and personally, I really hope that he saw that character's name and thought "I just have to audition".
The Hunt begins with a text message chain between a group of people, who briefly mention "the hunt", before being reminded that the first rule of "the hunt" is to never mention "the hunt". Then Liberty apparently leaves the chat...Flash-forward to an open field, reminiscent of The Hunger Games (2012). Twelve people have woken up with gags in their mouths, after being drugged and abandoned in this open arena. They have no idea where they are or why they are there, but it quickly becomes apparent that they must fight for their survival. It's in these early moments of "the hunt", that the film's comedic tone is solidified. Prior to this, I thought I was sitting down to watch a straight horror (I should probably do some more research before I watch things). However, it turns out that this is more of a satire and a horredy (evidenced in the way that some of the characters die...is that a spoiler?...I feel like it isn't). At any rate, comedic tone is definitely required in order to deliver this film's central message.
The film isn't even halfway through before the viewer realises that those who have been picked for the hunt, are conservatives (or at the very least, have conservative ideals) and those who are orchestrating it are the "liberal elites". There are a few things that I really enjoyed about this. First of all, it's not often in film that we see a scenario where human-beings with seemingly leftist ideals, are the ones who are pulling the triggers. It's nice to see this stereotype turned on its head, and have "baddies" who are also liberal, and who say things that we've all heard or seen on social media. I'm not saying that I think lefties are bad guys, but I am saying it's nice to shake up viewer perspectives from time to time. Secondly, the filmmakers managed to include every conceivable liberal/conservative political issue, in a satirical (and occasionally funny) way - pointing out the extremes on both sides. However, the most important reason why I liked this set-up, is because the film's central message isn't one about liberals and conservatives and who is actually right. The satirical nature of the film, highlights the political ideals and the stupidity and hypocrisy of those who would do anything to prove that they're right...even if it causes them to act in complete opposition to what they actually believe. This film communicates, that aggressively pursuing one political viewpoint without reflection, is reckless...and may just get you killed. It's those that tread a cautious middle-ground, and listen carefully to others, that will survive "the hunt".
Apart from enjoying the central message, I loved Betty Gilpin's performance. She nails it in this film. There is one particular monologue, where Gilpin's character, Crystal, tells the story of The Jack Rabbit and the Box Turtle (inspired by The Tortoise and the Hare). The delivery is done so well, that Gilpin single-handedly creates more dramatic tension in that moment, than exists in most of the film. You have no idea what Crystal is planning to do, and you cannot look away, despite the fact that at the start, this is a story that we've all heard before.
This film is fun and at times funny. It's certainly not my favourite film of all time, but it is an enjoyable watch. Furthermore, Gilpin's performance is fantastic, and well-worth the rental price of this movie. If you're looking for something to keep you occupied on this long weekend, you can find The Hunt on iTunes, Google Play, Fetch, Foxtel and the Playstation Store (if you're in Australia...elsewhere...I don't know...my bad).