The Hunt

Every movie starts with an idea. You’ve got ideas, right? Me, too! You know how it is, hanging out with friends, surrounded by beers and bongs, an idea for a horror movie about an murderous almond picking machines sounds totally off the hook! Or maybe your thoughts are higher concept, like a film about a celebrity zombie who runs for president, wins the election and eats everyone. The harsh reality is that no one wants to see our crappy movie ideas down at the multiplex. Thankfully most lazy, stoned people with big ideas wake up in the afternoon too distracted by deciding which cereal to eat or  whether to play video games or comment on memes, that no screenplay is written.

It’s true that great movies have great ideas. But they aren’t usually obvious. The greatest horror movie of all time, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” is about the end of an idealist hippie era, the mistreatment of animals by the meat industry, the new American family, and lots of other stuff. But when you’re watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre are you thinking about those things? No! You’re thinking of how scary Leatherface is with that giant sledgehammer and as you’re wondering how long a person can live with a giant hook through their back. This is how great art works. Ideas are baked into a story so the appropriate brainwashing can occur.

And then a movie like “The Hunt” comes along. A film that leads with ideas. Brainwashing delivered via fire hose. It’s all ideas. Sprinkled with some action. This flick gained attention after a group of people, including the U.S. President, were up in arms about the subject matter, a group of liberal “elites” pay big bucks to hunt and kill conservative “deplorables.” It’s The Most Dangerous Game fueled by CNN/FOX soundbites.

I was excited about “The Hunt” because it appeared on the cover of latest issue of Fangoria magazine. Any self-respecting horror fan has to give Fangoria cover movie the benefit of the doubt. And the film delivers gore and a semi-tense horror movie vibe. There are funny jokes about the narcissistic dysfunction of both sides. Everyone in the film is caricature, someone to mock. Betty Gelpin is at the center of the action and she’s great, a real bad ass. Surrounded by action and bloody mayhem, Gelpin is the closest we get to an actual human connection. Maybe that was part of the point, to create distance so we can see the true meaning. But it’s hard to give a shit about a movie that doesn’t have some kind of human feeling generated. Sure, I’m down with a little pen to the neck, stiletto to the eyeball, head-exploding ultra-violence. But the experience felt hollow. The script felt like a college freshman paper about how our political parties are so extreme that they’ve lost all usefulness for governing people. So, we get jokes about gun loving rednecks and NPR loving liberals. It’s a funny idea, but it felt more like a complicated video game designed to make a point, than a story about real people. And, as you know, I’m a people person.

I give it 10 out of 22.

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