The novel-turned-movie takes place in post-apocalyptic North America. People live in one of 12 districts, or in the capital. Each year, two children from each district are chosen for a reality show called the Hunger Games: 24 enter the deadly arena, but only one will survive.
District 12's Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers to go when her little sister's name is called. She learns that the key to the Games is winning the hearts of the audience, who can sponsor players and send vital aid. Katniss, a stiff girl, now has to learn to be likeable, not exactly her strength.
Although the movie's two main concepts have been explored before - reality TV in The Truman Show and teen homicide in Battle Royale - director Gary Ross is able to create something entirely new.
This is not like other teen flicks. It is dark and grim; the shots are deliberate and powerful; the psychological struggles are tangible.
For those who don't care for teenage drama, the movie also takes a look at a twisted and voyeuristic media culture. There's been Hunger hype for a reason.
Contains violent images