The Hunt parents guide

The Hunt Parent Guide

A brutally violent movie that is banking on political controversy to gain attention. Don't reward this cynical strategy by seeing it.

Overall D

When 12 strangers wake up together in the woods with no memory of how they got there, they realize something must be wrong. When they find they're being hunted, though, they decide to take matters into their own hands.

Release date March 13, 2020

Violence D
Sexual Content A
Profanity D
Substance Use B-

Why is The Hunt rated R? The MPAA rated The Hunt R for strong bloody violence, and language throughout.

Run Time: 115 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Waking up in a forest with a dozen other captives, all of whom are wearing an uncomfortable gag, Crystal (Betty Gilpin) quickly gets to work planning her escape. As the other gagged abductees uncover a cache of guns and knives, Crystal waits patiently, and watches as they are brutally murdered by well-armed and well-hidden assailants. Struggling in her new environment, Crystal becomes aware that she (and the others who have survived) are being hunted by a group of rich “elites”, led by Athena (Hilary Swank).

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (in which case, I envy you deeply), you’ll have heard at least some of the drama surrounding this movie. Attacked by individuals of all political stripes, including the President of the United States, The Hunt has finally opened under the tagline: “The most talked about movie of the year is one that no one’s actually seen”, which, apart from being rude to the test audiences who were subjected to it in August, seems to indicate that this movie’s primary marketing strategy is political controversy.

If that’s what you’re thinking, you’d be correct. Under the completely unnecessary layers of politically loaded writing, this is a bog-standard boring action flick. I like a good action movie, but this is missing a key ingredient in that genre: being any good. Cardboard characters, weak writing, and a frankly irritating amount of deliberate political stereotyping make this about as much fun to watch as staring directly into the sun while listening to C-SPAN. I would actually prefer the latter.

Content-wise, this might as well be a slasher movie. I haven’t seen many other films lately that revel in this degree of graphic violence. About ten minutes in, an individual is shown being stabbed in the neck with a pen, and then in the eye with a high-heeled shoe. Gross, right? Just you wait. The shoe is then removed, taking the eye and the entire optic nerve with it. That’s enough to make you re-think the licorice you bought at concession… and anything else you might have wanted to eat. And then there’s the profanity, which by my count, includes more “f-words” than there are minutes in the runtime. I’d say that’s something of an achievement if it weren’t merely an indication of limited writing ability.

Director Craig Zobel seems to be trying to backtrack on Universal’s marketing strategy, and insists that he “…Certainly didn’t make the movie to try and gin up controversy.” There are two interpretations of this statement: First, that Zobel is too naive to notice the deliberate political rage-baiting going on (on both sides of the political divide), and isn’t interested in noticing them any time soon. Second, that he is flat-out lying to try and seduce potential viewers who were put off by the controversy back into theaters. Zobel claims that this is, instead, an “absurd satire”, and a “fun movie, I promise!” But, since it neither has any point (making it unlikely as a satire) or any fun (limiting option 2), we’re left with option 3: It’s not worth risking exposing yourself to coronavirus to see this in a theater. More importantly, it’s not worth exposing yourself to this phenomenally annoying film at home if you’re planning to wait on a streaming service to pick it up.

Directed by Craig Zobel. Starring Betty Gilpin, Emma Roberts, and Hilary Swank. Running time: 115 minutes. Theatrical release March 13, 2020. Updated

The Hunt
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Hunt rated R? The Hunt is rated R by the MPAA for strong bloody violence, and language throughout.

Violence: Graphic violence is frequently portrayed and played off comedically, including shootings, stabbings, and people being killed in explosions. Particularly unpleasant incidents include individuals being stabbed through the eye with a high heel (which is then removed, taking the eye with it), being impaled on spikes, an individual being blown in half (and then shooting themself), being shot with multiple arrows, and self-cauterizing stab wounds with a brulee torch. In one scene, an individual shoves their finger in another person’s bullet wound in order to coerce them into giving up information.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: There are 97 uses of extreme profanity, 29 uses of scatological terms, and dozens of other profanities in various categories. In my defense, I had my hands full just counting those two.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Individuals are shown drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes.

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The Hunt Parents' Guide

Americans are increasingly polarizing along political lines. Why do you think this kind of political tribalism is becoming increasingly entrenched in American culture? What can you do to communicate with and appreciate people with other political beliefs?

The American Interest: The Top 14 Causes of Political Polarization

The Conversation: Political polarization is about feelings, not facts

The Atlantic: The Real Culprit Behind Geographic Polarization

Pew Research Center: US Media Polarization and the 2020 Election: A Nation Divided

Brookings: A primer on gerrymandering and political polarization

The Atlantic: The Threat of Tribalism


Home Video

The most recent home video release of The Hunt movie is June 9, 2020. Here are some details…

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