Warning! Major spoilers for The Hunt below.
The Hunt left its audiences with a burning question — was Betty Gilpin’s Crystal May the right Crystal? From previews dating back to its original 2019 release, the film seemed to be a straight forward adaptation of The Most Dangerous Game. So, it was quite the surprise when the film revealed a final act twist — she was never supposed to be one of the hunted.
The movie sees a group of wealthy corporate elites rounding up and kidnapping a group of “deplorables.” They drop this group in an abandoned field before they begin to hunt them for sport. As her comrades are quickly killed off, Crystal May fights back and begins to pick off her tormentors one-by-one. This leads to a pretty epic showdown with Hilary Swank’s Athena, who is the leader of the hunters. In the middle of monologuing during the film’s final act, Athena informs Crystal that she was selected because of everything she said online under the screen name “Justice4Yall.”
However, it turns out that Athena’s group nabbed the wrong Crystal. Gilpin’s Crystal May says they were actually looking for Crystal Mae, another Crystal in her hometown. With her dying breath, Athena asks Crystal if she was lying — if she is actually Justice4Yall. While Athena does not believe Crystal told her the truth, it’s pretty clear that they got the wrong girl.
The question of Crystal May’s true identity is meant to leave the ending of this massively controversial film a little open-ended. But the fact that Athena and her friends kidnapped the wrong Crystal because they went on unverified truths is totally in keeping with theme of this movie. The Hunt opens with a text chain between Athena and her friends in which they discuss how excited they are for their upcoming hunt of human “deplorables.” At the end of the film, it’s revealed that text chain took place a year prior to the events of the movie. The contents of their texts were leaked, and they were all fired from their high-ranking jobs.
Athena claimed that the hunt was simply a joke. Everyone who posted about it online went too far by spreading gossip without verifying the facts first. So Athena and her friends decided to teach the “deplorables” involved with the leak a lesson. They wanted this hunt to be true. In the year leading up to the events of The Hunt, the elites decided to grant them that wish, and spent time and money planning their perfect hunt. Beyond that, the hunters painstakingly selected the people they wanted to hunt, based on the things they said online.
For some reason, Athena is fixated on the woman behind the screen name Justice4Yall. As Athena tells her in The Hunt‘s packed ending, Crystal is the group’s “Snowball,” referring to a character from Animal Farm. Athena’s so excited to take this woman down that she does a shoddy job verifying her identity. When she comes face-to-face with the wrong woman in a wildly violent showdown, Athena so badly wants to believe she caught the right Crystal. Despite getting the truth straight from the source, Athena dies believing what she wants to believe. It’s a grim, but clever full-circle ending for The Hunt.
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