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Blumhouse's The Hunt: Trailer teases a most dangerous game

The Hunt is on.

The first, long-awaited trailer for the Blumhouse thriller, the plot of which had been kept largely under wraps until now, has been released. The flick looks action-packed, funny, and gruesome in equal measure — and if its story seems a bit familiar, well, there's a reason for that.

The movie centers around an event in which the privileged rich hunt the hapless poor for sport, a concept which has figured in a notable work or two. Its most obvious inspiration would be the classic 1924 short story "The Most Dangerous Game" (with the word "game" referring to the hunted), which has been adapted to TV and film countless times, both by its original title and others. Perhaps the most well-known modern version of the tale is the unofficial 1994 adaptation Surviving the Game, which starred Ice-T and the late, great Rutger Hauer.

The Hunt, though, offers up a bit of a twist: it seems as though several of the individuals being hunted are a tad bit more formidable than the hunters bargained for, with one woman in particular demonstrating in the spot's opening sequence that she may have been a poor choice. Be warned: the trailer is NSFW.

She's portrayed by Betty Gilpin (GLOW), and we see her looking a little bit worse for wear, entering a lonely country convenience store. She asks the kindly couple behind the counter what state she's in, appearing to provoke their suspicion; the female clerk reaches slowly for a shotgun, and no sooner can she tell her customer that she's in Arkansas than the woman springs into action with startling speed. She commandeers the shotgun and kills both the clerks — and in the next sequence, we see why. 

Outside the store, the woman is met by two armed men who appear to be friendly. "How'd you know they was lying?" one of them asks. The woman peels a phony Arkansas license plate from a nearby vehicle, revealing a foreign plate underneath. "Well, this ain't Arkansas," she says, "so everyone is lying."

We then see rich folks fraternizing, in an office and aboard a private jet, as they congratulate each other on their fantastic idea and remind themselves that the country belongs to them. "It's just business," one man says, "hunting human beings for sport." A woman (Hilary Swank, I Am Mother) angrily corrects him, "They're not human beings."

We see a group of gagged people (including American Horror Story's Emma Roberts) wandering out into a field, and the woman from the intro and her companions in transit. "Every year, a bunch of elites kidnap normal folk like us," one says in voiceover, "and hunt us for sport." We see one unfortunate man finding himself on the receiving end of a couple of arrows, and then the craziness begins.

In the next quick series of shots, the hunted are shown discovering a cache of weapons as a drone tracks their movements; one man destroys the drone, leading Gilpin's character to point out that he's given away their location. We see the hunted under assault by the weapons cache, Gilpin's ultra-badass performing an over-the-top act of vehicular homicide, and one guy realizing too late that's he's standing on a land mine.

"They're playing you!" an unidentified figure shouts, and we get a quick shot of some sort of encampment by a train track, where Gilpin's character is dodging bullets and protecting innocents. "Of all the people you've kidnapped," her narration intones, "of all the people you've killed, you picked the wrong gang." A brief tease of a brutal fight between Gilpin's and Swank's characters in a kitchen closes out the spot.

The Hunt looks a cut above your average survival thriller, likely due to its strong pedigree. The flick was directed by Craig Zobel, who helmed the underrated (and very tense) 2012 feature Compliance, and has also worked on TV shows such as American Gods and Westworld. He worked from a script by Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof, both of whom are working as producers on HBO's forthcoming Watchmen series (which Lindelof also created). In addition to those mentioned, the cast includes longtime Jeremy Saulnier collaborator Macon Blair (Hold the Dark), Ethan Suplee (Santa Clarita Diet), Glenn Howerton (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Ike Barinholtz (Suicide Squad), Justin Hartley (Smallville), and Amy Madigan (Antlers). 

The flick looks like another winner for venerable horror imprint Blumhouse, which has recently fielded such hits as Halloween, Happy Death Day 2U, Glass, and Ma. If you like a little butt-kicking action with your nerve-jangling suspense, you've got a date to circle on your calendar: The Hunt hits the big screen on September 27.