Night Hunter (2019) Review

Time: 99 Minutes
Cast:
Henry Cavill as Lieutenant Aaron Marshall
Ben Kingsley as Michael Cooper
Alexandra Daddario as Rachel
Stanley Tucci as Commissioner Harper
Brendan Fletcher as Simon Stulls
Minka Kelly as Angie
Nathan Fillion as Matthew Quinn
Director: David Raymond

A police lieutenant (Henry Cavill), his entire force, and a vigilante (Ben Kingsley) become caught up in a dangerous scheme involving a recently arrested, troubled man (Brendan Fletcher) who’s linked to years of female abductions.

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I knew about this movie for a little while, even back when it was originally called Nomis (before it was changed to the more generic title of Night Hunter). It looked like a standard thriller, but it was the cast that had me interested, with the likes of Henry Cavill, Ben Kingsley, Brendan Fletcher and more involved. Even though I heard some mixed/negative things about this movie, I wanted to check it out for myself. It indeed is a rather generic and average serial killer thriller, with some decent performances making it relatively watchable.

Night Hunter is aiming to be one of those serial killer thrillers like Se7en and Silence of the Lambs, but instead just end up having the standard clichés and tropes that a lot of other imitators have in their movies. That includes the roles from Cavill’s super serious cop to Kingsley’s vigilante. So much happens early in the movie (mainly the first 15 minutes) and it really feels too much and rushed. Then it suddenly slows down to a crawling pace after the first encounter with the serial killer character. The movie is an hour and 40 minutes and doesn’t necessarily feel too long, but it definitely stretches out some sections of the plot for too long. The most ridiculous side of the movie is the use of futuristic technologies, from high level tracking devices to hackers who quickly type on a keyboard and say “I’m in”. If you read a summary of the plot it doesn’t sound so bad, but in the movie itself they really fail to make it interesting. At some point there’s an attempt to find what makes this killer tick, but it doesn’t last very long. Night Hunter is quite procedural and you don’t really feel anything throughout, despite a couple of okay twists. It oddly enough manages to be a little too complicated and convoluted, and it really didn’t need to be. The third act isn’t even really that satisfying, it just sort of ends and that’s it.

As I said earlier, they’ve got a good cast here, but they don’t deliver their finest work. Henry Cavill is the lead as the police lieutenant, and he is good, probably the strongest of the cast. His character is a pretty familiar cop character, but Cavill manages to elevate the role just a little bit. The rest of the cast is mainly a mixed bag. I’ve not seen much of Alexandra Daddario in other movies for me to say that she’s a great actor, but she’s been better in other movies, it’s hard to buy her in this role. Though to be fair to her, despite her character featuring quite prominently in the plot, she’s given practically nothing to do for the most part. Ben Kingsley has his own plotline, with him and Eliana Jones (as his adopted daughter) as vigilantes hunting down sexual predators, and although that aspect makes the early section of the movie feel overstuffed, it at least provided a somewhat interesting angle for the story instead of just feeling like a standard cop finding serial killer movie. With that said, you’d think with the way they are set up in the first half that they will play a major role in the movie. In a sense they do play a part in the second half but not has much as you’d think, and by the end they mostly just feel like setup for the serial killer to be encountered by the rest of the characters. There are other actors like Stanley Tucci who are also decent enough, but some cast members like Minka Kelly and Nathan Fillion are more background characters, and honestly could’ve been played by anyone. Brendan Fletcher as the serial killer had me interested, his performance in the Uwe Boll directed Rampage trilogy was the saving grace of them, and he was legitimately great in them. Here his performance here is a bit odd to say the least. I know that people who have seen this movie are a little split about how they feel about him. He is very over the top but he does convey the craziness of the character quite well. With that said the character has DID, let’s just say that it’s not a good or respectful portrayal of people with that condition. It certainly wasn’t the best choice for the character or the movie. When Fletcher does get more serious and less goofy with his performance, he’s a lot more effective, so removing the whole mental condition aspect would’ve made the movie and character much better.

I believe this is David Raymond’s first movie, and for a directorial debut it’s not bad. With that said, it does seem like at many points he’s trying to imitate some classic thrillers with his direction, much like with the story. The music is trying really hard as well, being overly intense when the movie really wants you to be tense, but it’s so heavy-handed that it’s more distracting than anything. The direction isn’t bad, just pretty standard.

Night Hunter may have a great cast mostly giving okay performances, but it’s not really worth watching it for them. The story is pretty familiar and nothing special, the direction is just okay, and overall it’s a standard thriller that isn’t particularly engaging. If you have an hour and 40 minutes to spare and are genuinely curious about it, then I guess it might be worth checking out. It’s not as bad as what I’ve heard from other people, but it’s really just okay at best.

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