The Hunt director, Craig Zobel, has spoken out for the first time about Universal’s decision to cancel the release of the Blumhouse-produced thriller, just days before its intended August 10th US release.
The studio made the call in the wake of a series of recent mass shootings, and in an exclusive with Variety, Zobel has revealed that he hopes his film will eventually be seen by audiences, and that its message has been misrepresented in recent reports.
For anyone unfamiliar with the controversial premise of The Hunt, it feels no different to something like The Purge, or a take on the Hostel scenario, in that a group of twelve strangers are kidnapped, labelled as ‘Deplorables’, before being systematically hunted for sport.
Zobel, who directed the 2012 breakout hit Compliance, stated that his film wasn’t intended to antagonise either side of the political divide, but was made “to poke at both sides of the aisle equally” going on to elaborate that “we seek to entertain and unify, not enrage and divide. It is up to the viewers to decide what their takeaway will be.”
He went on to say that the film had been misunderstood, writing “I wanted to make a fun, action thriller that satirised 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.”
However, despite this Zobel was fully behind Universal’s decision to pull the film, stating that “I was devastated by going to sleep to El Paso and waking up to Dayton. These types of moments happen far too often. In the wake of these horrific events, we immediately considered what it meant for the timing of our film. Once inaccurate assumptions about the content and intent of the movie began to take hold, I supported the decision to move the film off its release date.”
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Twelve strangers wake up in a clearing. They don’t know where they are, or how they got there. They don’t know they’ve been chosen… for a very specific purpose … The Hunt.
In the shadow of a dark internet conspiracy theory, a group of globalist elites gathers for the very first time at a remote Manor House to hunt humans for sport. But the elites’ master plan is about to be derailed because one of the hunted, Crystal (Betty Gilpin, GLOW), knows The Hunters’ game better than they do. She turns the tables on the killers, picking them off, one by one, as she makes her way toward the mysterious woman (two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank) at the center of it all.
The Hunt is directed by Craig Zobel from a script by Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof, and features a cast that includes Betty Gilpin, Hilary Swank, Emma Roberts, Justin Hartley, Ike Barinholtz, and Glenn Howerton.