In a news cycle where violent rhetoric is railed against will there be any condemnation for a blatant provocation?
During the recent Democratic Party Presidential debates, there was a curious interlude. The candidates were addressing gun violence and the various Constitution-threatening policies they would implement if elected. Then CNN went to a commercial, and we were treated to visuals of guns. The timing was, I am sure, uncomfortable for some on the left.
What looked like an advertisement for a hunting resort was in fact a trailer for an upcoming film, “The Hunt”, tentatively being released in about a month. It appears to be an update of the classic “The Most Dangerous Game”, where it was not animals who were hunted but other humans. It has come to be known now that there is a bit of a modernization — the hunters are leftists, and their quarry (that is, the people they are hunting down) are conservatives.
In the wake of the recent shootings that have dominated the news, commercials for “The Hunt” have been pulled. But what will be interesting to watch is how two aspects of this production will develop; will the studio (the Blumhouse Productions film is distributed by Universal Pictures) soften the message at all in the editing suite? And will the press have any contempt for the portrayal of provocative political violence depicted?
Any of the trailers to this point have not revealed this political underpinning in the script. The content is not accidental, nor even an incidental inclusion. The political polarity appears to be rather upfront in the storyline. According to The Hollywood Reporter, after a look at the script written by Damon Lindelof and Nick Cuse, the theme is rather blatant.
Universal is re-evaluating its strategy for the certain-to-be-controversial satire. The violent, R-rated film from producer Jason Blum’s Blumhouse follows a dozen MAGA types who wake up in a clearing and realize they are being stalked for sport by elite liberals. The original title for the film had been “Red State Versus Blue State”, making the aggression right upfront — and also a possible sign of the studio softening this conflict in the marketing.
Universal is on the cusp of having a property that is either properly timed to capture the environment on social media in satirical fashion, or it could see real-life events eclipse the message and it gets delayed, out of sensitivities. The more interesting reaction to watch for will be in the media.
Currently, Democrats are eager to cite anything they can as inciting and possibly leading to violence. Even quoting a politician verbatim by others has been accused as being an act that puts the speaker of the words at risk — somehow. The imbalanced analysis of the El Paso shooting has only ramped up this hysterical commentary. But what then will these hyperbolic hectorers say about a film that has liberal specifically targeting Trump-supporting conservatives.
The conflict of ideologies is not even veiled. In one scene a leftist with a gun declares, “At least The Hunt’s coming up. Nothing better than going out to the Manor and slaughtering a dozen deplorables.”
As Christian Toto commented on the film prospects, usually these plotlines end up with the individuals being hunted turning the tables and conquering the hunters. This would then mean that ultimately the MAGA crowd is positioned as the heroes in the film, which itself is a rarity in Hollywood. But the violent depiction of combative political opponents has to be seen as a serious problem, correct? That has been what has the press in such a froth in the past weeks, and for their messaging to remain intact then, this film has to be seen as a blatant provocation to violence
Seeing how the media interprets a film that crosses lines that very same media has lain already will be very interesting indeed. That is, if the film even manages to see its way to be released into our current hypersensitive environment.