the hunt review

The road to bringing The Hunt to big screens has been a bumpy one. Scheduled to be released in September 2019, the film was delayed after a series of high-profile gun violence incidents, exacerbated by President Trump tweeting in late Summer that the horror film that involves the murder of right-wing internet trolls was “made in order to inflame and cause chaos”. 

Shifted to an early March release and marketed overtly using the controversy as a selling feature, the film received lukewarm reviews from many, while this writer enjoyed it as a throwback, schlocky bit of exploitation fun that takes the travails of internet discourse to its most appalling limit.

As Covid-19 shifted all of our lives this spring, the film was soon pulled from theatres for the second time. Universal has arranged for the film to stream on VOD, essentially abandoning the theatrical run in favor of allowing audiences to engage from the comfort of their homes during the cloistering due to the pandemic. Strange days, indeed.

Director Craig Zobel is no stranger to controversy – his 2012 film Compliance generated plenty of discussion – yet he’s spent the last decade doing some remarkable work on both big screen (the fantastic, much-overlooked Z for Zachariah) and small (The Leftovers, American Gods, Westworld, One Dollar).  In this exclusive interview, /Film spoke to director Craig Zobel about this journey, including how the film was made, how he personally reacted to the changing fortunes of the project, and how he has witness the narrative surrounding the film echo many of the themes his film reflects. 

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Streamer's Guide to March 2020

(Welcome to The Streamer’s Guide, a new monthly feature recommending at-home viewing options from filmmakers with new movies arriving in theaters this month.)

March is when the movie year feels like it really kicks off in earnest. The studios start putting their best foot forward, not just taking out their trash. The indie labels put out some of prior year’s festival hits that weren’t quite built for an Oscar run – but are nonetheless incredibly impressive titles. Last year’s films finally start to surrender their screens at the multiplex and head to streaming, leaving audiences with many exciting new options.

This year, we’re getting two Cannes competition entries, a (potentially) bold reimagining of a Disney classic, a movie recently feared canceled, a sequel to one of 2018’s biggest original hits, a standout feature from an American indie legend and a movie about how a deerskin jacket turns a man on to crime. And that’s just what I covered here! Read on to find out not only what to see in March 2020 but also what you should be watching at home now to prepare for some of the month’s highest profile releases.

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The Hunt Movie Release Canceled

It hasn’t even been two weeks since Universal Pictures released the first trailer for the satirical action thriller The Hunt, but the studio has decided to scrap the release of the movie starring Betty Gilpin and Hilary Swank after a series of mass shootings, political controversy and uproar surrounding the premise of the series. Find out more about The Hunt movie release canceled by Universal below. Read More »

Damon Lindelof Blumhouse

Damon Lindelof is heading back to the big screen.

The creator of Lost and The Leftovers has largely worked in TV over the past few years, but now he’s co-written a new action thriller called The Hunt that will be produced by Jason Blum‘s Blumhouse, a company known for giving filmmakers low budgets but tons of control over their work.

Read more about the new Damon Lindelof Blumhouse movie below.

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Damon Lindelof interview

(This is part two of a larger interview. You can read part one right over here.)

The Leftovers isn’t playing it safe in its third and final season. Co-creators Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta‘s series has grown more ambitious over its three chapters and this season can get pretty bonkers, to say the least.

As out there as The Leftovers can get, it somehow manages to stay grounded. The surreal touches and bizarre turns tend to carry an emotional weight, striking deep into the heart of the characters. Last season’s “International Assassin” is a great example of that.

Lindelof takes some big swings with season 3. He recently told us about some of the risks the writers took, how the music has evolved over the series, and what he’s learned from the experience of The Leftovers.

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Z for Zachariah

Margot Robbie finds herself at the center of her own post-apocalyptic love triangle in the first trailer for Z for Zachariah. But being that she may literally be the last woman on earth, the stakes are a bit higher than your usual Team Peeta vs. Team Gale shenanigans.

The trouble starts when Ann (Robbie) makes the startling discovery that another person (Chiwetel Ejiofor) has survived the mysterious catastrophe that left her alone. The two of them forge a bond, but it’s disrupted when yet another person (Chris Pine) enters the mix. Watch the first Z for Zachariah trailer after the jump. Read More »

Z for Zachariah

When you think post-apocalyptic movies, you probably think about action. You think zombies, or destruction. You probably don’t conjure up water wheels, a turkey dinner, and romance. But that’s what you get with Z for Zachariah. Directed by Craig Zobel (Compliance), the film is almost an anti-post-apocalyptic movie as it’s much more concerned with human relationships than anything else going out around them. With a cast including Chiwetel Ejiofor, Margot Robbie and Chris Pine, that’s both a blessing and a curse. Read more of our Z for Zachariah review below. Read More »

Margot Robbie in The Wolf of Wall Street

Warner Bros.’ Tarzan has found its Jane. Margot Robbie is in talks to play the female lead in the big-budget Edgar Rice Burroughs adaptation, opposite Alexander Skarsgard as Tarzan. David Yates is directing.

Meanwhile, she’s also entered talks to star in Craig Zobel‘s Z for Zachariah, replacing previously cast star Amanda Seyfried. In that one, she’ll be starring alongside Chris Pine and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Hit the jump for more details on both of her upcoming projects.

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Amanda Seyfried

In a post-apocalyptic world, one girl believes she’s the last human alive. Then she sees some smoke on the horizon, and a man appears. She and the man fall in love, assuming they’re all that’s left. Then another man emerges. That’s the plot of Robert C. O’Brien‘s ’70s sci-fi novel, Z For Zachariah, which is about to get the big screen treatment.

Directed by Craig Zobel (of the amazing Compliance), produced by Tobey Maguire and adapted by Nissar Modi, Amanda Seyfried will play the young girl, Chiwetel Ejiofor the man she falls in love with and Chris Pine the mysterious stranger. Filming should occur later this Summer. Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

A cornerstone story aspect of the thriller, codified on film by Alfred Hitchcock, is fear of persecution. Hitch was famously afraid of police, and a constant element in his films was the horror of being pursued and/or persecuted for an infraction real or imagined. The Law — the “capital-L” version — can seem like an unfathomable force that guides our behavior, and the persuasive power of that force can make one feel incredibly vulnerable.

The power of that particular perception of Law is at the heart of Compliance, too. The indie became notorious at Sundance this past January for expanding on real-life stories in which an anonymous caller impersonated police officers and talked business managers into strip-searching and violating employees. The instigating factor would be a reported infraction of the law, with the caller reasoning that the fastest way to deal with the situation was for the manager to do some of the work of the cops before officers were able to arrive. Inevitably, the caller would push the situation deep into scary territory, and those on the other end of the line would comply.

The real-life stories are chilling, in part because it is horrifying to consider that anyone would follow the instructions of someone who purports to be a law officer without attempting to verify the caller’s identity. Compliance seems to exploit that horrifying behavior quite well, and now you can get a glimpse of just how weird things get in a new trailer for the movie. Read More »