If man is the most dangerous animal on the planet, then hunting man is the most dangerous game. That’s the basis for the longstanding entertainment trope known as the survivalist or human prey genre. Began by an infamous short story and extrapolated out across numerous categories both realistic (action, thriller) and silly (comedy???), the tracking and killing of other people has come to symbolize everything that’s wrong with society. From the desire to destroy to the acknowledgement of taboo, titles like the one’s listed below always spark controversy. Only cannibalism and child sexualization are more scandalous in substance and subtext.
So it’s odd that a big screen adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ hugely popular young adult book series, The Hunger Games, is viewed as the most mainstream of materials. With its kids killing kids core and rich vs.l poor patina, it should be garnering protests, not praise. And yet, right now, the film is poised to be a massive hit, marking the moment when a bestselling phenomenon on a touchy subject became the stuff of everyday praise. For our money, there are at least 10 examples where the main narrative theme plays out better, and more bravely (for all its provocation, Games keeps much of its violence off screen). As a result, here is our collection of cold blooded sadism passing as social commentary, movies that make it very clear that, in the battle between individuals, surviving is the least important outcome, beginning with: