Sometimes the controversy behind a film is infinitely more interesting than the film itself. Case in point, The Hunt, a film that was banned last summer due to a largely misleading news story that resulted in a bit of an uproar on one side of the political fence. If only the movie were as incendiary as the brouhaha it might lead one to believe that there might really be something to write about. In reality, The Hunt, is a sometimes interesting variation on the often refashioned 1932 film, The Most Dangerous Game, and that’s about it.

Betty Gilpin in The Hunt

Things get off to a rousing start in The Hunt as a group of people in an indeterminate remote area find themselves in the crosshairs, so to speak. An unknown predator rains down on the unlucky with a variety of bullets, arrows, and so on while the prey attempt to run for their lives without stepping on a landmine or falling into a hole and getting skewered by a spike or two.

One of the survivors of the film’s opening massacre, Crystal (Betty Gilpin), is determined to get to the bottom of things and she goes through all sorts of obstacles to arrive at her destination. This forms the bulk of the film’s plot. Eventually it all points to a group of liberal elitists, among whom two time Oscar winner Hillary Swank is cast as their de facto leader (it’s a living I guess). It’s eventually revealed that those picked off were chosen not just randomly but because of their political persuasion. Somewhere in the midst of all of this there’s a subplot involving an online conspiracy which leads to a bit of an attempt at a twist in the final act that more savvy viewers will see coming far in advance.

The Hunt’s script is co-written by one of the masterminds behind the TV series, Lost, Damon Lindelof, along with Nick Cuse. Some of Lindelof’s talent comes through. Still, one can’t help but wish that some of the ideas contained in the film were more well developed. It’s the type of thing that screams for another rewrite and, perhaps, the film’s creators felt they had to get it out there as quick as possible to capitalize on our current political moment. They would have done well to remember that sometimes slow and steady wins the race.

The Hunt is playing everywhere.

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