The Movie Waffler New to Netflix - NIGHT HUNTER | The Movie Waffler

New to Netflix - NIGHT HUNTER

night hunter review
A police lieutenant, his entire force, and a vigilante become caught up in a dangerous scheme involving a recently arrested, troubled man who's linked to years of female abductions.

Review by Musanna Ahmed

Directed by: David Raymond

Starring: Ben Kingsley, Alexandra Daddario, Henry Cavill, Stanley Tucci, Brendan Fletcher, Minka Kelly, Nathan Fillion

night hunter dvd

Night Hunter was originally titled 'Nomis' but apparently focus groups found the pathetically generic 'Night Hunter' a more distinctive title. More surprisingly, there's never been a major film with this exact title, despite the commonalities of those two words in cinematic naming history. But add a few function words and you get a Robert Mitchum classic.

This film, on the other hand, is only a classic in the schedules of the big movie stars who feature. This star-studded crime thriller was shot way back in early 2017 and subsequently shelved, only publicly playing once at the LA Film Festival with its original title. Normally, you could attribute lengthy times between filming and release to extensive post-production but this convoluted mess looks to have been hastily put together, not really making much sense.

night hunter review

A confused narrative follows three wildly different parties joined together to discover the truth behind the kidnapping of a young girl, soon exacerbated after they discover several women held captive in a mansion. The primary suspect is Simon Stulls (Brendan Fletcher), a hysterical, unstable young man taken into custody. He offers conflicting information about another attacker on the loose.

[ READ MORE: Night Hunter and Multiple Personality Murderers In Film ]

The time is ticking for lawful good cop Rachel (Alexandra Daddario), chaotic good cop Lieutenant Aaron Marshall (Henry Cavill), chaotic neutral judge-turned-vigilante Michael Cooper (Ben Kingsley), and the lawful neutral Commissioner Harper (Stanley Tucci). Neatly fitting their little boxes of varying moralities, these characters are placed in the structure of a zombie drama, each dealing with moral dilemmas on how to deal with Stulls (the zombie in this simile, of course). It’s a standoff between the authorities as they have different ideas of applying pressure, needing to choose between lethal or pacifist ways of uncovering the truth and risking the kidnapping of more young women in the time they take.

night hunter review

I’m already struggling to remember what happens next as Cavill and co grabbed my eyelids and forcefully tried to pull them down south, but it all culminates in one of the most preposterous twists of identity since the Jet Li movie War. All it can take is a bad finale to ruin an entire film, though Night Hunter establishes itself as a wasteland of entertainment from the outset.

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The one diamond in the rough is Daddario. The last time she dabbled in the genre was as Woody Harrelson's mistress Lisa in the first season of True Detective. Now, she's playing a well-respected cop and the role comfortably fits her, sending a calling card to casting directors everywhere for meatier dramatic roles.

night hunter review

Naturally, the low-impact marketing campaign may make it amiss of your attention - it certainly dodged my field of view until I was notified of a screener prior to an imminent release. The press release I received invoked the titles of Se7en and Silence of the Lambs. You cannot cite those films as inspiration and not have a quarter of the written strengths or visual ingenuity of those works. Other better works this derivative wreck reminded me of were Primal Fear and Saw, considering the omniscience of the villain and the mind games they play.

Naming Cavill alone would've been enough for some stocky French financier at Cannes to fund this Hollywood-esque indie but throwing in the names of Kingsley, Daddario and Nathan Fillion promises it commercial viability. Watching this final product, the only thing that makes sense is that this murderer’s row of talent would pick such a project only so they could fund their tropical holidays. It’s devoid of any artistic or entertainment purpose, but at least Night Hunter could be notable for being maybe the only film where they thought it was just the name that needed to be changed before going out to the public.

Night Hunter is on Netflix UK now.

2019 movie reviews