Night Hunter


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Night Hunter
"You're going to want to break out your crime cliche bingo card early, lest you miss the full house."

First-time feature David Raymond director has certainly gathered quite the cast for this crime thriller, including Henry Cavill, Ben Kingsley, Stanley Tucci and Nathan Fillion - although the latter's involvement here is so minimal you wonder why he bothered. You're going to want to break out your crime cliche bingo card early, lest you miss the full house.

Plot heavy and character light, Cavill's gruff cop Marshall is working in tandem with a psychological profiler (Alexandra Daddario, who put in good work in San Andreas and deserves better here) to try to get to the bottom of a case of serial sex assault and murder. Raymond doesn't want for ideas - it's just a shame that he has tried to cram them all into a single movie.

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So it is that we get the main story - which sees a quick arrest of perp Simon (Brendan Fletcher), who has multiple personalities and seems almost too disturbed to have committed the gruesome murders he is accused of - running alongside a secondary story involving Kingsley's vigilante judge Cooper setting paedophile honey traps with young accomplice Lara (Eliana Jones), courtesy of a ton of McGyver-style tech. Soon the stories begin to dovetail as it turns out that Simon's apparent scheming stretches way beyond his initial crimes.

Keeping up with all this proves difficult for everyone involved, not least the editor who, at the mid-point of the film is cutting so fast between scenes that we have no time to even work out what room we are in let alone which cast member we are looking at. When you begin to wish one of the female characters had a different haircut so that you could distinguish them more quickly, you know that characterisation has failed.

Aside from one left-field revelation - which, if you enjoy general B-movie madness does make this worth catching - you can check things off by rote. The cops seem to come from the rottenest precinct in town, flouting procedure at every turn. Not unusual in the thriller world, perhaps, but quite laughable here. Take, for example, the moment near the start when Simon is arrested. Despite turning up mob handed with a full SWAT team, good old Marshall still goes into the serial killer's lair alone - and with a flashlight, of course. This is done, you suspect, not to further the story but because it looks cool.

Smaller cliches also pepper the action - Cooper floating Christ-like in a swimming pool, people unable to give emotional hugs without falling to their knees, the list goes on. Cavill, meanwhile, moves through the movie like a tectonic plate, in stark contrast to Fletcher, who is busy chewing scenery. On one level, the very ridiculousness of proceedings keeps it watchable - and if someone had only told Raymond that less would be more, there's a feeling that a better film lies inside this one - but Night Hunter is probably best watched with a group of mates, a few beers and that bingo card for the fullest enjoyment.

Reviewed on: 13 Sep 2019
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Night Hunter packshot
A serial killer with multiple personalities takes on the cops who have caught him.
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