NIGHT HUNTER / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: DAVID RAYMOND / STARRING: HENRY CAVILL, ALEXANDRA DADDARIO, MINKA KELLY / RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 13TH (UK), AUGUST 8TH (US)
This year has been pretty well-populated with big event movies, and most of them haven't really been all that impressive. While that's very disappointing, it's also great to appreciate original independent movies when they arrive, and Night Hunter is one of those movies. This is a solid mystery thriller that does its job at keeping you on the edge of your seat, as well as being a good character piece at the same time. First-time writer/director, David Raymond, does a great job at making this movie feel unpredictable for the most part and, while there are some twists that feel kind of clichéd and ludicrous, the intensity still permeates throughout.
This is a dark film, both literally and thematically; no character feels safe, and the dark subject matter and themes that are brought up aren't shied away from either. Murder, psychopathic tendencies, sexual assault and abduction are all brought up, and that makes for a suitably uncomfortable experience at times. Any of these characters could die in any scene and, throughout, you do feel the pain and the inflictions that are wrought upon these people. The cinematography by Michael Barrett is pretty top-notch, resulting in some impressively dark and foreboding shots that immediately grab your eye.
Also top-notch are the performances; Henry Cavill is not actually that bad here and his performance as the troubled, grizzled cop is surprisingly deep, which makes up for his recent bland portrayal of the Man of Steel. Alexandra Daddario, after being involved in some truly awful films like Percy Jackson, The Layover and Baywatch, is finally given a solid role which allows her to be innocent yet with a quiet determination and ferocity behind her performance. Brendan Fletcher was a real surprise as he constantly makes you question if he is really mentally ill or actually a clever psychopath, while both Stanley Tucci and Ben Kingsley do well in their respective roles.
Night Hunter is not a film that will turn the genre on its head, nor will it be regarded as one of the greatest mystery thrillers ever made, but it's still an entertaining watch that does its job and gives you plenty of thrills that'll keep audiences invested enough as it plays out. In a year without that many great films, it's nice to see a film that's actually pretty good and accomplishes what it sets out to do, even if it isn't completely perfect.