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The Disturbing Survival Thriller That's Killing It On Hulu

There's a horror movie making the rounds on Hulu right now, a movie that's popularity may wind up outliving its original infamy — The Hunt. If the generic name sounds familiar, that's because Universal and Blumhouse Pictures found themselves embroiled in a scandal that actually caused the film to be temporarily removed from Universal's release schedule.

The Hunt is a film in which people are captured and shipped against their will to a lawless part of the world where they are destined to be hunted for sport by the rich. This story is not a new one. Richard Connell wrote the short story "The Most Dangerous Game" way back in 1924, and its core conceit is essentially the same, albeit on a smaller scale.

The Hunt's trailer, however, seemed to suggest a specific political bent to the film — one where the hunters are liberal elites and the hunted are right-wing "deplorables." In fact, although it's never been officially confirmed by Universal or Blumhouse, the supposed original title for the film was Red State vs. Blue State.

What neither Universal nor Blumhouse counted on was an angry response from soon-to-be-former President of the United States Donald J. Trump. In tweets from August 9, 2019, Trump wrote, "Liberal Hollywood is Racist at the highest level, and with great Anger and Hate! They like to call themselves 'Elite,' but they are not Elite. In fact, it is often the people that they so strongly oppose that are actually the Elite. The movie coming out is made in order to inflame and cause chaos. They create their own violence, and then try to blame others. They are the true Racists, and are very bad for our Country!" 

While The Hunt was never mentioned by name, it was clear who (and what) Trump was talking about.

Betty Gilpin makes The Hunt worth watching

Long story short: After complaints from Trump — and out of respect for recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio — it was decided that the studio would remove The Hunt from the release schedule indefinitely. Indefinitely, however, turned out to not be very long, because The Hunt eventually found its way to theaters on March 13, 2020. Now, it is easily available to watch on Hulu. So let's talk about what the film is actually about and why people are likely watching it right now.

The Hunt is a story about rich liberals who capture people they deem to be unsavory and then hunt them to the death. Yes, the people being hunted do, in many cases, seem to be right-wing stereotypes. It is, however, important to keep in mind that the people being hunted are very clearly the heroes of the story. The film's protagonist, Crystal (Betty Gilpin), is one of the people being hunted, but there's a twist we won't spoil here about her. What's worth noting is the casting and quality performance of Gilpin herself, whose popularity grew enormously thanks to her portrayal of Debbie Eagan on GLOW. Since Netflix unexpectedly canceled GLOW prior to its planned final season, there are a lot of people who likely want to see Gilpin's talents not only as an actor, but also as a fighter. If this describes you, then look no further than The Hunt.

The Hunt: the feel good movie of 2020?

There is also at least a likely a political reason for The Hunt's present success. As of this writing, it's only been about a month since the record-breaking 2020 United States Presidential Election which saw now-President-Elect Joe Biden defeat the outgoing President Donald Trump. With both candidates receiving more votes than any previous presidential candidate, it's safe to say that political tensions were running high back in November.

While The Hunt is, ultimately, neither wish fulfillment nor cautionary tale, it is a movie that shows what happens when people of either political persuasion attempt to resolve their differences at the end of a gun. Spoilers: it doesn't particularly work out well for anybody! However, over the course of its runtime, The Hunt does offer people of all political persuasions a chance to vent their frustrations from the safety of their couches. 

Blumhouse has already had years of enormous success effectively doing the exact same thing with its The Purge franchise, so it's no surprise that, despite the temporary embargo last year, The Hunt ultimately found similar success. It's concept may seem disturbing, but it's ultimately nowhere near as disturbing as real life. 

The Hunt is available to watch now on Hulu.