Oh boy another one of these films.
Hunt Club is a film I honestly expected to release on Shudder, given it looks like a knockoff of several other films with almost the exact same premise and feels like it was made on a budget of about the price of a Hot ‘n Ready pizza from Little Caesars. It released in 2022 and nobody has watched it going by the five critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and six audience ratings on Amazon Prime video. Oh and 42 ratings on IMDB. I’m pretty sure I could film myself taking a dump, not release it publicly, and it’d still get more than 100 IMDB ratings.
Director Elizabeth Blake-Thomas runs film production company Mother & Daughter Entertainment, a studio whose slogan is “Making Content That Matters.” Ironic considering this film has nothing to say. Hunt Club stars Mena Suvari as Cassandra, a woman who finds herself invited to an island where dudes come together to hunt for sport and to become men. And wouldn’t you know it, they’re not exactly hunting quail on this island. They hunt women. Get it? Something something toxic masculinity.
The leader of the hunt is Carter played by Casper Van Dien, a man who has never met a paycheck he’d turn down. Carter is introducing his son Jackson played by Will Peltz, another paycheck enthusiast, to his first hunt. Jackson plays the son who doesn’t really want to murder women because he realizes the concept is stupid, but he also wants to sex up
Mena Suvari, making him unintentionally the most relatable character in this film.
The worst part of Hunt Club is the everything, pretty much. The premise is utterly stupid, as it’s about a group of guys who validate their masculinity and alpha maleness by hunting defenseless women they kidnap. The logic falls flat. Carter’s group waxes poetic around a campfire about how men need to reassert their dominance in society but the answer is a secret group where dudes play grab-ass with each other, probably secretly kiss and do butt stuff, and kill women? To return us to primal masculinity? That don’t make no sense.
They should have made this a movie where the Hunt Club is made up of bitter divorced dads and incels whose spite toward women fuels the hunt with the underlying idea that despite all the beta cuck men that liberal colleges have created, the true alpha males still run the show behind the scenes. The guys in this film talk in sentences that only make sense if you’re a socially isolated feminist who hasn’t stepped foot into a moderately crowded Starbucks since at least before the Covid pandemic, let alone been a party to a group of dudes chatting around a fire. We talk about our balls, and that time we kissed other dudes while drunk for your information. You know, hetero alpha male stuff.
There are some parts in this that are funny if only by virtue of the cast and their situation. I never get tired of hearing lines about masculinity and alpha males from Mickey Rourke, a man who in the last five years has had more cosmetic work done on his face than probably all of the women in the cast and crew combined. At 70 years old Rourke looks like the extent of his physical prowess is lifting that beer up to his mouth and maybe getting out of the chair with some help from a stage hand. Incidentally Mickey Rourke’s continued attempt to sell himself in action films probably does a whole lot more to discuss concepts like toxic masculinity than this film does.
There’s probably some other unintentional commentary, like how Casper Van Dien doesn’t maintain eye contact with his son while talking about masculinity, although I’m guessing that’s because the characters weren’t in the same room when they shot the scenes. Mena Suvari fights an obvious body double of Mickey Rourke in a bad wig and nothing interesting happens for the first 50 minutes. Which isn’t a bad thing when done right. Paul Kersey doesn’t kill his first mugger until roughly the 50 minute mark in Death Wish, but that film also competently builds up that first 50 minutes.
Being a budget film of about tree fiddy, Hunt Club also isn’t able to show any of the action on screen. They had just enough cranberry juice to practically cover a few people and then everything else is terrible CG blood plugins. I’d hate to have the body physique that would make me suitable as a stand-in for Mickey Rourke.
My favorite character in the movie is Lacey played by Sumayyah Ameerah who treats her part with exactly the kind of cheese it deserves. Incidentally she’s the only person in this film who talks like a normal human would. Most of the cast talks like they don’t speak English and are reading their lines phonetically. It also doesn’t help that none of the dialogue sounds natural. Like they ran it through a Chinese filter and then translated it back poorly. Outside of perhaps Casper Van Dien, Sumayyah seems to be the only one actually enjoying herself on set. This woman is going places and looking good doing it.
There are roughly a dozen other films with the word Hunt in them that carry this same premise and do it better. I won’t even go into the horrible blood CG shooting out of Mickey Rourke’s neck. We do get an hour and fifteen minutes into the movie before someone gets their dick chopped off. Otherwise there’s a good reason this film came out and was almost immediately forgotten.