Night Hunter, written and directed by David Raymond, is a new star-studded thriller so bizarre you will be left wondering why the cast signed on in the first place. However, despite the wildly uneven script, the film manages to be thoroughly entertaining because of how straight-faced the entire endeavor is.
The movie follows a police force and a local vigilante who become involved in a conspiracy involving a mentally disabled man suspected to be involved in a string of kidnappings and murders of women. The story is just as problematic in execution as it sounds on paper, maybe even more so, being rooted in outlandish twists and horrid character development.
The way in which this film handles its character with a mental disability is beyond problematic. Towards the beginning, it seems like the movie may be providing commentary on the way by which people with disabilities are often mistreated by the justice system, but it soon becomes clear that the film is using his condition as little more than a plot device.
Although the poorly-written disabled character is the cardinal sin committed by this movie, the rest of the characters are also quite underdeveloped. All of the police characters are total archetypes whose arcs are entirely predictable. Nothing about these characters is remotely interesting, and as such, it is hard to get behind them.
That said, the film did have quite a bit of potential, particularly regarding the storyline involving Ben Kingsley as a pedophile-castrating vigilante. This portion of the movie is legitimately intriguing, unlike the procedural drama or the nonsensical mystery that so dominate a majority of the film. As a whole, this movie is simply all over the place, and as a result, it doesn’t work.
The cast that was assembled for this film is surprisingly strong, hence why it was such a surprise that the movie is mediocre. However, apart from Kingsley, no one gives a performance that is particularly memorable or worthy of note. Henry Cavill, Alexandra Daddario, Stanley Tucci, and Nathan Fillion all have roles ranging in importance and screen time, but none of them gives a particularly good turn.
On a technical level, the film is overwhelmingly grey. For a movie of which a majority is set in a single location (a police station), there isn’t a lot of tension or claustrophobia. For the most part, the movie is horribly bland and unambitious stylistically, which is in stark contrast to the script, which makes a ton of ambitious swings and misses.
Night Hunter isn’t unwatchable, but unfortunately, the film suffers due to what appears to be a lack of effort. The script, acting, and execution all feel tremendously lazy, and as such, this is a movie that is unlikely to be remembered by most who watch it.
Night Hunter hits theaters and VOD on September 6.