- Sophie Willard
- 9 September 2019
Poorly handled thriller from David Raymond which squanders an eye-catching cast
Night Hunter opens as a distressed woman is chased through thick snow at night, dressed only in a shirt and underwear. That the film doesn't follow its attention-grabbing introduction with 90-minutes of sustained misogyny is certainly a relief, but that is all that can be said in its favour. Whatever whiff of genius may have been present on the page to have attracted such a recognisable cast is entirely missing from first-time writer-director David Raymond's execution.
A thriller in name only, and with a questionable grasp of psychology, the film concerns itself with a police detective, Marshall (Henry Cavill), a serial rapist / kidnapper, Simon (Brendan Fletcher, alarmingly all-too-serious), and a vigilante, Cooper (Ben Kingsley), who lures paedophiles on the internet with the aid of his teenage ward, and then castrates them. Raymond offers only paper-thin characterisation for the perpetually frowning Cavill – and indeed everyone – to play with, so that Marshall's primary modes are gruff dad, gruff cop, and gruff ex-husband. TV's Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Castle) appears in a thankless and brief role as a bumbling IT guy; one wonders if he owed a friend a favour.
Impatient editing leaves important narrative beats without weight, the pacing is confusing, and scenes are mystifyingly cross-cut together, implying connections where there are none. The film immediately abandons the few interesting ideas it proffers and, as Marshall's investigation into Simon drags on, it becomes unnecessarily complicated. Even so, the final reveal is signposted throughout, and requires viewers to sit through an offensively poor handling of disability and mental illness that is shockingly out of touch. If David Fincher's Se7en and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo copulated at the bottom of a DVD bargain bin, this would likely be the result.
Limited release from Fri 13 Sep.