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The Hunt (15)
Released in the UK just as the first lockdown was beginning, this satirical blood fest was lost in the panic of the pandemic taking hold so it’s only now as it appears on Sky and streaming playlists that we get to see what we missed.
The Hunt is extremely violent. It’s also funny and very clever as an allegory of the American class divide, which is why it made quite an impression in the US.
But the reason The Hunt is a must see can be summed up in two words: Betty Gilpin.
Until now she was known for a supporting role in the TV series Nurse Jackie and as wrestler Debbie “Liberty Belle” Eagan in the Netflix comedy series GLOW.
That may well change now as at 34, once things start to get back on an even keel, she could well find herself drafted to the big league.
As Mississippi girl Crystal, who with 11 others wakes up to find herself being hunted, apparently for fun, by a group of rich, successful types led by Hilary Swank, Gilpin dominates every scene once a brilliantly confusing first 10 minutes or so has been played out.
Sometimes all it takes is a facial expression or monosyllabic response in a deep southern twang.
The violence is shout at the screen, knees under the chin graphic, but thanks to the strength of the storyline and its delivery, the gore’s ability to disturb is fleeting and becomes more of a comedy aside than a gratuitous and desperate effort to fill in the cracks.
This is so much more than a straightforward shoot ’em up, chop ’em down. It has humour, it’s entertaining and, if you’re up for it, has a message in its madness.
Betty’s the business!