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Review: The Hunt – “Betty Gilpin is a brilliant action hero”

After a bit of a delay due to Donald Trump and Fox News wetting themselves over a film they hadn’t seen about Trump voters being hunted by liberals, the film about Trump voters being hunted by liberals is now “finally” released.

A Blumhouse production directed by Craig Zobel (Z is for Zachariah) and written by Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof (Watchmen), The Hunt stars Betty Gilpin (GLOW), Hilary Swank (Boys Don’t Cry), Ike Barinholtz (The Disaster Artist), Ethan Suplee (Mallrats) and Emma Roberts (American Horror Story: Pick One).

A group of Trump supporters – including Crystal (Gilpin), Staten Island (Barinholtz), “Shut the fuck up” Gary (Suplee) and Yoga Pants (Roberts) – awake to find themselves in the middle of nowhere and hunted for sport by a team of liberal sharpshooters led by Athena (Swank).

The Trumpers think everything is deep state this and crisis actors that while the libs constantly choke on their own virtue signalling and it is never once funny. It is all the most obvious, awkwardly lame political comedy imaginable.

How this was written by the dudes who scripted Watchmen, the joint best television programme of last year, that was full of very deft and clever political jabs, is mind scrambling to me. The Hunt feels like a joke movie that the Watchmen universe would roll its eyes at.

The actual human hunting is good when it is actually happening and is full of paranoia, nasty deaths and a couple of genuine shocks. Anyone who has seen GLOW (go and watch GLOW) will know already that Betty Gilpin is great and can also handle physicality, but getting to see her actually beating the crap out of people and shooting up the place like John Wick in a crop top is a treat.

Betty Gilpin is a brilliant action star and also gets an epic fistfight finale to prove so in. She feels real and confident and is definitely enjoying dishing out the bumps and bullets. She also has a habit of pulling a face that I can only accurately describe with this emoji: 😬, before killing people a lot and that is probably my favourite thing about The Hunt.

So… after the delay and the handwringing was The Hunt worth Trump or anyone else getting their knickers in a twist over? Trump, yes. He gets referred to as “rat fucker in chief” twice. But, to be fair, that’s pretty light on the list of things I’m sure we would all love to let him know that we would like to call him. But everybody else? Nah.

The Hunt does whatever it can to try and wind up every one of any political leaning and also insults both sides in increasingly ludicrous ways completely equally, just wanting to court as much controversy and outrage from as many quarters as possible for attention but chickening out of actually saying anything.

Early on the film makes clear that it thinks both the Trumpers and the liberals are just as stupid and awful as each other and eighty-odd minutes later it is still saying the exact same thing. It’s boring and a cop-out. If you have nothing to say, it doesn’t matter how long and hard you shout it for – it’s still a load of nothing.

You just wish it would pick a side, or just pack it in. Or cut back to Betty Gilpin kicking the shit out of someone.

The Hunt is in UK cinemas now.

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