Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Violent Political Satire The Hunt Has Been Uncanceled, Just in Time for the Primaries

By Scott Shackford - February 18, 2020 at 11:45AM

Politically-themed murder flick The Hunt is back on the movie release calendar, this time with a trailer campaign that all but screams, "No really, the liberal elites are the villains, guys!"

A violent satire about rich people hunting average people for sport, The Hunt was originally scheduled for a release last September. But the advertisements were yanked after mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, and the movie was subsequently subjected to a mass outrage campaign from conservatives—or at least the conservative pundit class.

Even though the initial trailer made it very clear that viewers are supposed to identify with and support the down-to-earth, working-class, likely conservative victims, some people, particularly vocal people at Fox News, were insistent that the movie glorified murdering them. Pundit outrage reached President Donald Trump's ears, and he even tweeted about it. So the movie was shelved.

But the movie has been rescheduled to hit theaters March 13, a little more than a week after America's ritual political primary slaughter known as "Super Tuesday." You may have seen advertisements for it online (perhaps sandwiched between 17 Mike Bloomberg, Bernie Sanders, and Tom Steyer ads).

Perhaps in an effort to dampen any potential outrage, the trailer for the movie has been recut to make it painfully obvious that the liberal urban lefties are the bad guys:

According to The New York Times, the movie itself has not been recut at all. It's exactly the same as it was before. They're just now making it clear in its ad campaign that this is an over-the-top satire of political and regional ideologies and clashes. Like South Park with real people. Or Get Out with less subtlety.

It was abundantly clear before, but now the trailer practically assaults the viewer with its themes. The new marketing campaign uses last year's controversy as a source of publicity, with movie posters quoting some of the juiciest outrage coupled with the tagline "The most talked about movie of the year is one that nobody's actually seen."

It's instructive that a week after Universal announced that The Hunt is back on the schedule, there's actually no outrage to speak of. It's almost as if the initial uproar was largely a performance, which would explain why Universal is comfortable using last year's uproar to get butts in seats.

The new poster is honestly pretty tame (a piglet), compared to the wild history of outrage-inducing slasher and horror film advertisements. We'll see if the strategy works. Unfortunately, it's too late to recut the film as a clash between Michael Bloomberg supporters and Bernie Sanders supporters.


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