After being axed ahead of its release last fall, the controversial thriller The Hunt has received a new trailer and will finally be released in theaters March 13th.
The film centers around 12 strangers from working-class and/or Southern communities who are referred to as “deplorables,” kidnapped and forced to partake in a gruesome battle royal organized by a group of “liberal elites.” But as the new trailer shows, the group in the film hatches a plant to fight back, launching a battle that blends over-the-top violence with political satire.
The Hunt was initially scheduled to hit theaters last September, but uncertainty over the film began in August when Universal Pictures and Blumhouse paused the marketing campaign in the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. It was canceled outright soon after, in part because President Donald Trump called out the film in a series of tweets, saying it was made to “inflame and cause chaos.”
In a new interview with Variety, The Hunt’s producer, Jason Blum, and co-writer, Damon Lindelof, defended the film and insisted that it takes shots at both sides equally. Although they acknowledged they felt the decision to can The Hunt last year was correct, they said the way it was covered in the media — by people who hadn’t even seen it — muddled the public perception of what it was about.
“[W]e feel the timing is absolutely right to have a conversation about a movie that is reflecting through a very absurdist lens a divided country where we believe the worst in each other,” Lindelof said. “This movie is a cautionary tale for what happens when this gets carried out to its extreme. This movie does not celebrate violence. It does not celebrate stereotyping or finger-wagging or making assumptions about, in air quotes, the other side. It excoriates that behavior and, more importantly, it has fun in the process.”
Blum and Lindelof also addressed Trump’s comments and said they weren’t concerned about him entering the fray again. In fact, Lindelof said, “[O]ur hope is that if the president talks about the movie again, it’s because he’s seen it versus what he is being told by others.” Blum added, “Our real hope is that the president sees the movie.”