Directed By: Craig Zobel
Written By: Damon Lindelof & Nick Cuse
Cinematography: Darran Tiernan
Editor: Jane Rizzo
Cast: Betty Gilpin, Hilary Swank, Ethan Suplee, Emma Roberts, Ike Barinholtz, Glenn Howerton, Amy Madigan, Wayne Duvall, Sturgill Simpson, Reed Birney, Macon Blair
“Twelve strangers wake up in a clearing. They don’t know where they are — or how they got there. In the shadow of a dark internet conspiracy theory, ruthless elitists gather at a remote location to hunt humans for sport. But their master plan is about to be derailed when one of the hunted, Crystal, turns the tables on her pursuers.
This movie is full of action and a rather surprising amount of violence. Though keeps a dark sense of humor throughout and flips the script a little.
As the victims trying to survive the hunt are more Americana types who are usually villainized on social media and the hunters are emote the liberal elites who seem to find everything somehow insulting and must be corrected.
The film doesn’t seem to take any side but shows there are good and bad in both and this is all taken to the extreme. The second scene is great as far as setting the tone. As we see familiar actors and types of characters who we assume will be the hero and then we see some of them taken down and through the first 30 minutes, we are never quite sure who to follow, trust, or believe.
We are kind of put into the similar mindsets of the hunted characters constantly questioning what is going on. So enough our hero or anti-hero played by Betty Gilpin who stays a badass throughout and whose character had the same kind of sarcastic swagger that most male Action heroes have. Luckily at no point does her look or attractiveness has anything to do with her survival or getting the upper hand. This is a tar making role and she handles it well.
The film is over the top violent that after a while it becomes a joke itself as well as feels ridiculous at times.
Though there is mention of minorities. The film still doesn’t have any amongst its cast which is a lost opportunity the film seems to want to avoid. As that may make the film Have to more make a decision. Though it might have also given more of a point of view.
Hillary swank as the villain would have been more interesting seeing her in the heroic role but that might have been too expected. It’s nice to see her in movies again. I only wish she was getting bigger roles. Though her hand to hand fight with Gilpin is the third act and one of the best action sequences in the Film.
The film never quite slows down. As when it comes to the ending it feels like barely any turn has passed. So that this film feels like a breath of fresh air.
Directed by Craig Zobel is shocking as his films are usually more humanistic dramas and comedies. This is the first more action-oriented mainstream movie he has made and he passes with flying colors. Showing himself to be more a journeyman director.
The fact ironies in this movie are Intentional. As showing how all of this started. This is a worst-case scenario of what it seems like is going on in the world when it comes to personal politics. This is more a satire that fits in with movies such as BATTLE ROYALE, THE PURGE, MAYHEM, and THE BELKO EXPERIMENT. Though this film not as dark in the spirit, it might more remind or be a companion piece to THE RUNNING MAN or SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST.