SPOILER ALERT! IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN ‘THE HUNT’ (2020), YOU MAY NOT WISH TO READ ON.
One thing I really miss about life post lockdown are the Arts. On a regular basis I would go to the cinema or theatre to see a film or show I was excited about. This withdrawal led me to reminisce about the last film I saw on the big screen. It was ‘The Hunt’ a horror which follows a simple premise: twelve strangers wake up in a field bound and gagged. They do not know how they got there but one thing becomes clear: there is a hunt going on and they are the prey.
So far, so typical of the genre. But as I settled into my seat in the auditorium, it soon became clear that this film was not your average run of the mill slasher flick. It is a brash satire on the political polarization of America that has afflicted the country for decades. Namely of course, liberal versus conservative.
But what makes the film interesting is that the twelve strangers being targeted are the religious, pro-second amendment right wingers, and the sinister antagonists chasing them down are the apparently tolerant, politically correct liberals.
Shock horror, right? Hollywood (or Hollyweird as it has become known) has made a film where conservatives are the good guys that we cheer for?! This comes after years of churning out films that ridiculed religious beliefs, dismissed traditional values, and lectured us about war, torture, and climate change all with a left – leaning slant.
However, Tinseltown never seemed able to correlate the blatant hypocrisy of espousing gun control while making films that featured, glorified, and even fetishized explicit gun violence and guns themselves. Oh well, awkward, let’s get back to the film, shall we?
The main protagonist of ‘The Hunt’ is Crystal Creasey (played by Betty Gilpin), a new breed of ‘The Final Girl’ character. Only, Crystal is no mere plucky, clever damsel that somehow manages to outwit the villain and either kill them off or escape to tell the tale. Crystal is a hardened Afghan vet who literally takes no prisoners. She is razor sharp, hard as nails, and full of vengeance as she turns this deadly game of cat and mouse on its head.
This blonde, attractive Southerner (another part of her character that I love by the way) is a breath of fresh cinematic air in terms of female representation on screen. There is no mention of man problems, she is not concerned with her appearance, and she is all for equality.
She asks one female character whether she believes she deserves mercy just because she is a girl. When the answer is an obvious no as the character is an obstinate “feminist”, Crystal decides to treat her in the same way as the men and puts a bullet in her head! Whoops! Talk about an own goal.
A twist in the final scenes reveal that Crystal was kidnapped in a case of mistaken identity, as she had a similar name to an internet troll who lived in the same town. This is a clever quirk by the writers as they turn Crystal into an outlier. She is neither a woke leftist nor a paranoid ideologue.
In fact, politics or religion do not seem to bother her at all. A rebel that refuses to let poisonous discourse or egregious conspiracy theories overtake her life like the other characters in the film. She defends herself but shows humanity to those who are innocent (for example an immigrant mother and baby whose lives she saves). Maybe that is what makes her such an inspirational hero for our times.