(I first wrote about the Blumhouse-produced movie The Hunt here.)
On August 10, 2019, Universal canceled the release of The Hunt, saying:
“While Universal Pictures had already paused the marketing campaign for The Hunt, after thoughtful consideration, the studio has decided to cancel our plans to release the film. We stand by our filmmakers and will continue to distribute films in partnership with bold and visionary creators, like those associated with this satirical social thriller, but we understand that now is not the right time to release this film.”
For some of us, it’s mission accomplished. Film dead. Yay!
Not me. I want movies like this to be released. Hollywood has decided to go out of its way to antagonize, contemn, and otherwise express its loathing for everyone to the right of Chairman Mao, and the more that normal people see what an appalling cesspit our show business industry has become, the less they’ll want to fund it. Hollywood has chosen to hate us and call us the enemy. It’s long past time to hate them back. More speech is better.
The director of The Hunt, Craig Zobel, says:
“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 am not going to call him a liar, but I do get to doubt the sincerity of these good intentions. A casual observer of our media culture would conclude the opposite: that our media class is really quite interested in enraging and dividing rather than entertaining and unifying. It’s possible that Zobel doesn’t pay attention to any news at all and can’t see this. He’s also being disingenuous about the takeaway being up to the viewer. Every piece of art is weighted with the artist’s desire for the viewer to take away a certain idea, feeling, or impression. That The Hunt, a politically-charged piece of satire, is somehow different from all other movies ever made stretches credulity. There’s an agenda here, and to deny that is what enrages and divides us further. It insults our intelligence.
Zobel goes on to say:
“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.”
I don’t disagree. Progressive Hollywood jumps to many assumptions about us hicks in flyover country and often shouts at us. They love to rush to judgment.
And, of course, he treats us to the standard progressive bromide:
“My hope would be that people will reflect on why we are in this moment, where we don’t have any desire to listen to each other. And if I’m lucky some of us will ask each other: how did we get here? And where do we want to go moving forward?”
That we have listened and still don’t find each other’s arguments convincing doesn’t seem to have sunk in yet. The American left has near-total control over mass media, education, news media, and social media. The rest of us don’t have a choice about listening: progressive messaging comes at us from all sides. We still think you’re wrong. About everything. It’s not a question of listening. You’ve got the biggest mouthpiece in human history and yet here you are, wishing we’d just listen. Why can’t you get it through your head that the more you talk, the more we dislike you? We think you’re wrong. You think we’re wrong. Listening isn’t the issue.
Where did you get the idea that you’re the only person who has asked how we got here and where we want to go? I’ve got simple answers to both questions. We got here because we got tired of our betters in entertainment, news media, and education pouring all three of these institutions into the toilet, so we’re pushing back, and you don’t like it. Hence movies like The Hunt. The question answers itself, no? Where we’re going is a cold civil war, where we develop our own versions of the institutions you’ve pissed all over. We can’t destroy them. We can only undermine their pretense to credibility.
It’s this lack of credibility that led to the outrage about the movie’s subject matter to begin with. Three decades ago, The Hunt might have worked as a blackly humorous slasher film. Instead of a Jason Voorhees-type murdering horny teenagers, it’s Democrats hunting Republicans…until the tables are turned. During those slightly less-divided times, we all could have laughed about how dumb and over-the-top it was. But Blumhouse, a famously woke production company, wasn’t in business then. They produced it today. So you’ll have to forgive us for not buying the idea that this is an even-handed satire of both sides, sight unseen. Hollywood doesn’t believe in the legitimacy of our side. You lost our trust, and you won’t get it back for generations.
It’s just a shame Universal pulled it.