Night Hunter review: A rather starry cast, including Henry Cavill, Stanley Tucci and Sir Ben Kingsley, must work together to bring down a man responsible for the kidnapping of a vast number of women, in David Raymond’s first time feature film.
Marshall (Henry Cavill) is a Lieutenant in the police force trying to keep his family safe. After a rather frank conversation with his daughter about internet safety, he finds himself investigating a local vigilante (Sir Ben Kingsley) working with a young woman to entrap sexual predators and stop them before they hurt anyone. One of these stings leads both men to the troubled Simon (Brendan Fletcher), a young man who has been kidnapping and abusing women for years. Along with the help of Profiler Rachel (Alex Daddario), they must work out the full extent of Simon’s crimes, unearthing some horrifying truths along the way.
Night Hunter marks the feature debut of writer / director David Raymond. Typically filmmakers have to wait until at least their second feature to get star power for their films. This is not the case for Raymond though as he’s collected a cast that is fit to bursting with high profile talent. Even the supporting cast – Nathan Fillion and Minka Kelly – are household names. So what is it that has drawn them all in? Well, put simply, this is a really solid crime thriller. Raymond doesn’t reinvent the wheel with this film, choosing instead to keep close to the expected conventions, but he does so in such an accomplished manner that, despite being a first time filmmaker, the cast are in very good hands.
As much as it plays into a lot of the expected twists and turns, Raymond does step out on his own in a few places. There’s a ‘what’s in the box?’ moment that is way more harrowing then Seven; I’m pretty sure my heart stopped for several seconds when I watched it. The topic is also handled in a very sensitive way. Rather than focus in on the trauma that the victims have suffered at the hands of their captor, and including a ton of graphic violence, Raymond chooses to leave these elements to the viewer’s imagination. As everyone knows, the imagination is far ore powerful than anything that can actually be shown, and it works to Raymond’s advantage. The decision to keep these moments off screen also sees the viewer focusing more on the investigation than the horror. In many ways it almost feels as though you’re a fly on the wall of this police investigation.
The cast, given their calibre, are obviously all great. Cavill shakes off both his Superman and Mission Impossible personas, and shows a different side to himself. Sir Ben Kinglsey and Stanley Tucci are their typical flawless selves. It’s Alex Daddario and Brendan Fletcher though that really shine here. Daddario is much better known for her comedic roles, but here she proves that she is capable of so much more than that. She has some really tough scenes, mainly revolving around her interrogations of Simon, and attacks them all with gusto. Fletcher has been steadily working in film and television for years, most recently appearing in Arrow, and yet is still relatively unknown. His work as the very tricky Simon proves why he is deserving of more acclaim. It’s a very challenging role, one that would test even the likes of Sir Kingsley, but Fletcher pulls off the role with aplomb. The performance could very easily go too far, but Fletcher knows when to rein it in and when to go for broke.
Though it may not reinvent the wheel, with Night Hunter David Raymond has achieved a very accomplished feature debut that highlights the talents of all its cast beautifully. Featuring the most heart-stopping moment in cinema since Seven, this is one crime thriller you do not want to miss.
Night Hunter arrives in cinemas and Digital HD via Signature Entertainment on Friday 13th September.