“The Hunt” was billed as a satirical take on wealthy liberal thrill-seekers taking a private jet to a five-star resort, where they embark on a “deeply rewarding” expedition that involves hunting down and killing designated humans.
Those designated humans are “MAGA types," as described by The Hollywood Reporter. “Nothing better than going out to the manor and slaughtering a dozen deplorables," a character says, according to THR.
Shortly after pausing marketing efforts for the violent film in the wake of the tragic mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, Dayton, Ohio and Gilroy, Calif., Universal Pictures told Fox News in a statement that the movie’s release had been canceled altogether.
Speaking to Variety, director Craig Zobel says that he hopes the film will see the light of day at some point in the future, noting that he never set out to make a movie that would become synonymous with political violence.
“If I believed this film could incite violence, I wouldn’t have made it,” he told the outlet.
“Our ambition was to poke at both sides of the aisle equally,” he continued. “We seek to entertain and unify, not enrage and divide. It is up to the viewers to decide what their takeaway will be.”
Despite his assertion that the film had some misrepresentations go public, Universal pulled the plug following the immense backlash that included President Trump lashing out at the picture on Twitter. However, shining a light on the political divide that’s come about during the Trump administration was always Zobel’s goal.
“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,” Zobel concluded. “This rush to judgment is one of the most relevant problems of our time.”