Hunted is about four friends who have been hired to break into a seemingly abandoned estate. It turns out they are not alone and soon find themselves the prey in a hunt. As the day progresses and the body count increases, it becomes clear there is only one way out. The premise has been done many times over the years, and it is always tricky. On one hand, there are the group who are breaking into a house to steal valuables. Hunted tries to make the thieves empathetic, but it falls flat.
It is established that they have been committing crimes so one of them can afford university. Not the best motive, but fair enough. This also means the job they take when they are captured is purely out of greed. Obviously, Hunted never tries to paint its villains in a positive light. Even all their talk of codes and civility are antiquated. (The end result of the hunt is certainly interesting, however.) It should all add up to a movie with no one to cheer for.
Yet, the film manages to make it work. By focusing on the hunt, the action and suspense take center stage. It is not long after the main plot kicks in that it becomes clear that anyone can die at anytime. This keeps the tension high the entire time. Since the vast majority of the film is based around the chase, all character development revolves around it. This works perfectly as the audience gets a good idea of the motivations and characteristics of all the major players. Hunted becomes more engaging since anyone watching will actually care about the four protagonists.
How the hunt ends will catch many off guard. It seems like the movie has a grander purpose than having winners and losers. Ultimately, it may be a little too cynical. Where things really go off the rails are in the final moments of Hunted. It does not provide the satisfaction it is going for, especially considering the results of the hunt.
Hunted comes to theaters October 21
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