To say we’re in a prickly political climate right now is, uh, an understatement. I’ve already been labelled a “yellow journalist” for calling out silly folks for hating Captain Marvel not because it’s boring, which, oh boy, it is, but because of who’s featured. Now, satire is under attack by those in power, which led to The Hunt getting its released cancelled by Universal and Blumhouse after the film was specifically called out by our fearless leader during one of his klan rallies.
The director of the film, Craig Zobel, has now spoken out though and while chatting with Variety, he explained what his goal was with the project and what they were trying to accomplish.
“Our ambition was to poke at both sides of the aisle equally. We seek to entertain and unify, not enrage and divide. It is up to the viewers to decide what their takeaway will be. I wanted to make a fun, action thriller that satirized this moment in our culture — where we jump to assume we know someone’s beliefs because of which ‘team’ we think they’re on… and then start shouting at them. This rush to judgment is one of the most relevant problems of our time.”
The director expresses gratitude to Universal for taking a risk on a new intellectual property, and says they also didn’t ask him to tone down the politics during production. The outrage all seems to spark from the poorly-defined trailer released only weeks before the cancellation. The satirical tone really does not come across in it and instead, the film seems tone-deaf and perhaps inflammatory. At the same time, however, politicians blaming media for violence is an argument old as time itself, and an argument that should be put to bed.
Also, this movie wasn’t screened for critics, test notes weren’t made public, and it was going to be released in September, the worst Summer Dump Month (TM) imaginable. While the angry conservatives did the pic no favors, it really seems like Blumhouse and Universal decided to just cut their losses and save themselves some PR money. Maybe it was a bad movie, released at a bad time, denounced for bad reasons. I don’t have all the answers. Or any answers, for that matter.
Do I think that stopping this from being released at all is a good thing, though? Heck no. The director, writers, and stars aren’t the only people who made the film; who’s gonna pay the poor gaffer? Nobody now. This also sets a bad precedent for future politically-charged pieces of media, showing that they can, indeed, be shut down with enough complaining.
Maybe you can eventually hunt down a copy of The Hunt on a streaming platform someday. For now though, those of you looking for your Hillary Swank fix will have to go elsewhere.