The decision to shelve the theatrical release of The Hunt was probably a wise one. Given the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, it only makes sense to remove such a violent and politically charged film from theatres. But after watching the trailer, I can’t help but wonder. Why was this film even made in the first place?
The trailer for The Hunt is shockingly violent. An older man and woman are killed, rather brutally, within the first 30 seconds. Later another person is shot with arrows and a man and a woman step on a landmine and one is thrown through the air as it explodes. Though violent, the premise of the film overall seems rather simple. A group of individuals labeled “deplorables” (i.e. conservatives) are hunted by a group of rich, possibly liberal, elites but in the end the hunters end up becoming the hunted.
Promoters have labeled the film as “satire” but based on the trailer it isn’t clear how the film fits this definition. According to Merriam-Webster, satire is defined as “a literary work holding up human vices and follies to ridicule or scorn,” and “trenchant wit, irony, or sarcasm used to expose and discredit vice or folly.”
Now, this film could’ve been an excellent piece of satire if it relied on over-the-top comedy, but instead it appears like the producers went for stark realism. Based on the premise, no one would find it surprising that the “deplorables,” who are stereotypically portrayed as politically conservative gun enthusiasts, turn on their liberal, elite hunters. In fact, the reality of the situation seems all too real. That’s where the film runs into problems.
It’s not difficult to see that our country remains divided, and it often seems like those divisions grow more and more every day. A movie that portrays those with political differences solving their disputes through the use of deadly force is potentially dangerous.
The individuals abducted for the hunt are also not random targets. At least one of the “deplorables” is supportive of the pro-life cause and the others are likely active on social media and in the conservative political movement. For the hunters, the opportunity to target both human lives and the political philosophies they disagree with is apparently the perfect combination.
The problem for many conservatives is that the targeting of “deplorables,” i.e. conservatives, by the liberal elite is, metaphorically speaking, already happening. While usually not violent, there is a concerted effort by progressives within big tech companies and the social media mob to try and silence or shame conservative voices. Here are some of the most recent examples:
- LifeSite News, a pro-life news site, was denied, after being initially approved, for Apple News channel because the site “didn’t comply with Apple’s News guidelines.” The tech giant eventually backtracked and reinstated LifeSite’s channel after public outcry.
- Twitter locked the campaign page of a republican Senator who shared video of protestors calling for his death outside his house.
- PragerU, a consistent target of tech giants like Google-owned YouTube, has had its video on the biblical Ten Commandment’s placed on YouTube’s “restricted list” along with genres like pornography and violence.
Dennis Prager, creator of PragerU, said that Google’s decision to place the Ten Commandment’s video on the “restricted list” because it mentions “murder” is akin to a Monty Python skit. How is saying “murder” in relation to one of the world’s oldest series of laws considered similar to violence or pornography? Would Google censor a recitation of the Code of Hammurabi, a series of laws far more violent-sounding than the 10 Commandments? Google doesn’t really have a good answer for that, which is why The Hunt feels a little too close to home.
The Hunt’s concept is rather interesting but appears rather poorly executed. Perhaps another film with a more satirical edge could have encouraged people to reconsider their political biases, however it is unlikely to happen. Hollywood needs to understand how conservatives think in order to do that, but its ignorance of half the country makes that almost impossible. So, again, in such a charged atmosphere why make a movie this violent? Hopefully, in hindsight the creators of The Hunt, originally titled Red State vs. Blue State, will realize that shootings or no shootings, a film that solves political and class differences through brutal violence is a bad idea.
Photo from The Hunt trailer.