A lieutenant, a police profiler and a vigilante track the movements of a serial killer after multiple women are abducted.
Night Hunter sees a troubled lieutenant, a profiler and a tech-savvy vigilante join forces to discover who is truly behind the abduction and murder of multiple women in this confused psychological thriller.
Directed and written by David Raymond, Night Hunter follows Lt. Aaron Marshall (Henry Cavill), a moody cop who reluctantly buddies up with paedophile hunting vigilante, Cooper (Ben Kingsley), to track the activity of kidnapper and serial killer Simon Stulls (Brendan Fletcher), after Cooper discovers Simon in a mansion full of abducted women.
After he is brought into custody, it soon becomes clear that Simon suffers from a series of mental disabilities and the team conclude that it is unlikely that he would have been able to carry out the crimes he was accused of alone. This theory is reinforced when individuals are subject to a series of threats and attacks while Simon is in police custody. With the help of Rachel (Alexandra Daddario), a police profiler, Marshall and Cooper race to discover the truth behind the abductions and murders before it’s too late.
Although clichéd in parts, Night Hunter presents an intriguing premise for an interesting psychological thriller. Unfortunately, despite the potential for an exciting story and the vast array of talented actors involved, the film is disappointingly bland and uninspiring.
From the get-go, it’s difficult to keep up with what is going on in the film and what it is trying to achieve. At the beginning of the movie, the audience are very quickly introduced to a selection of main characters, each of which are deemed to be important to the plot, yet none of them are given enough screen time to be fully established or understood. There are at least five or six characters who are central to the narrative, but they dip in and out of the film, which leaves the storyline feeling jumbled and confused.
The film has some promising key elements which have potential to provide the basis for a decent movie in the psychological thriller genre. We have a mentally unstable suspect who may or may not be guilty, we have a group of talented, determined police officers working on the case, and we have an intelligent vigilante who won’t stop until he has caught his target, even if that means resorting to violence. But despite the presence of a skeleton of a potentially successful film, the plot is so nonsensical and rushed, that it doesn’t tie together properly, leaving no meat on the bones of the movie. The film jumps around between plot points so often that you quickly lose interest, and this is not helped by the poor, unengaging script. Mostly dull, but with some horrendously corny lines such as, ‘he’s like bad milk left in the fridge’, the weak script often leaves scenes which are meant to be serious, feeling cringey.
Night Hunter is equipped with an impressive cast and the list of big names (Stanley Tucci and Nathan Fillion also star) is sure to reel people in. But although during most of the film it seems as though the actors are giving it their best shot, the performances don’t quite hold up. Henry Cavill’s character, Lt. Marshall, is stern and serious throughout and seems incapable of showing any other form of emotion, even towards his young daughter. This stiff performance soon becomes tiresome and it’s very difficult to care about such an unlikeable character with no charisma.
Kingsley and Daddario give reasonable performances, but even when they are up to scratch, the poor script and ridiculous plot drag them down. Kingsley’s portrayal of Cooper the vigilante feels like it belongs in another film, and Rachel the profiler often adopts some questionable interrogation techniques which make very little sense. The standout performance came from Brendan Fletcher as Simon, who does an excellent job of playing a character who is mentally disabled and often displays schizophrenic traits. Despite this, Fletcher often takes things a little too far and overacts, leaving the audience exhausted and resulting in some scenes with Simon feeling over-the-top.
Unfortunately, the weak script and uninspiring performances are not held up by the cinematography and sound editing in Night Hunter. Shots are extremely choppy throughout, resulting in a very poor sense of flow. It’s as if the film had been much longer but had to be cut down at the last minute, leaving the edit very rough and jumpy. The film also relies too heavily on overly dramatic music to make scenes serious or tense. The volume levels rise and fall sporadically when certain scenes could have worked perfectly well with no music at all. This strange use of sound leaves the movie feeling like a TV drama instead of a feature film.
All things considered; it seems as though Night Hunter would in fact have worked better as a television series. The film itself feels like two or three movies jammed together, and there is so much going on and such a broad selection of diverse characters, that perhaps a TV show would have given the story greater scope to be executed more successfully.
Night Hunter is showing in select cinemas from Friday September 13
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