Cavill & Daddario Team Up Against A Serial Killer

A police thriller in the mold of Seven and Zodiac, if a clear grade below in quality those genre titans, Night Hunter pulls off its disturbing serial killer plot with a star-laden cast and convincing suspense.

Led by Henry Cavill and Ben Kingsley in starring roles, writer and director David Raymond’s film sees a sexual predator-castrating vigilante and an obsessively driven detective take on a devious killer. A string of missing women are on the killer’s resume. Caught red-handed holding victims in captivity for his own amusement, the police are drawn into his monstrous schemes.

Say what you will about a few of the plot holes and crazy twists in Night Hunter, its stellar cast sounds like one of those fan lists made for clickbait. Henry Cavill plays a grizzled police detective; Ben Kingsley plays a judge turned vigilante with a personal vendetta against predators; Alexandra Daddario as a criminal profiler out of her depth trying to pull information from a psychotic madman; Stanley Tucci as their police boss; a slew of name actors like Nathan Fillion and Minka Kelly in token roles.

Night Hunter delivers exciting thrills and a couple of breathtakingly taut set pieces

The cat-and-mouse thriller really gets going when Simon (Brendan Fletcher) is captured watching over the victims, a mentally disabled man presumably behind the murders. How does someone like Simon pull off these terrible crimes? That is what Rachel (Alexandra Daddario) attempts to find out as someone targets the police department for capturing him. Senior detective Marshall (Henry Cavill) investigates this deadly challenge, mindful of a strained relationship with his own daughter complicating things for the workaholic cop.

The edge-of-your-seat plotting and fast-paced narrative help overcome some of the more ludicrous plot twists. Night Hunter’s script isn’t afraid of embracing the usual cliches and tropes found in serial killer movies. That it tackles them with style and gripping suspense transforms the ordinary into something far more entertaining.

Which could be one reason why the movie didn’t exactly bowl over critics upon release. The serial killer procedural has practically become a genre unto itself over the years. Fans prefer it more than jaded Hollywood film critics bored by the same crime elements. Despite the interesting character touches here, criminal thrillers have an image problem with most critics.

The primary essence of Night Hunter boils down to that age-old question pondered by Batman’s fans for years – why hasn’t the hero broken his moral code and killed his nemesis, the Joker, ending the lunatic’s psychotic murder spree? There’s some irony in that Cavill, known for playing Superman, plays a tough-minded cop here faced with that very dilemma.

Night Hunter doesn’t break new ground as a thriller or reinvent the wheel. It delivers exciting thrills and a couple of breathtakingly taut set pieces you’ll remember after the movie ends. Raymond’s criminal thriller works because of interesting characters and a break-neck sense of action, held together by unpredictable twists. For a movie that did nothing at the box office and basically went straight to video, it’s an entertaining and gritty ride.

Video

Mastered and authored by Technicolor, probably the best in the business, Paramount’s Night Hunter delivers satisfyingly clean and detailed video quality. The 2017 Canadian production is sharp with fine definition, graded with an eye towards a colder palette common to police thrillers. Presented in the film’s intended 2.39:1 aspect ratio, this is capable 1080P video with balanced flesh-tones and unwavering contrast.

The main feature runs 99 minutes, encoded in high-bitrate AVC on a BD-25. That approach results in a flawless Blu-ray transfer without artifacts. A touch of crushing appears in the darkest scenes, but generally the overall shadow delineation is great. Depth is nice without going overboard. There’s a cinematic quality to the video often lacking in today’s overly polished movies. Night Hunter is a good-looking film with commanding cinematography by Michael Barrett.

Audio

Night Hunter’s 5.1 DTS-HD MA is an action-driven affair with effective low-end and tight extension. The crime thriller’s audio has excellent dynamic range and well-placed surround cues.

The music by composer Alex Lu engagingly immerses the listener in Marshall’s gritty police environment, while also having a more nuanced and melodramatic approach for character-driven moments. Action scenes such as the SWAT raid provide pulse-pounding energy and crisp directional sounds. Dialogue is cleanly rendered without much trouble.

Optional English, English SDH and Spanish subtitles play in a white font, always within the scope presentation.

Extras

Released through Paramount, Night Hunter arrives on Blu-ray without any special features. This is a completely barebones release. A glossy slipcover is available.

The included digital copy redeems in HDX quality and is good on iTunes, and also your choice of either VUDU or FandangoNow.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Night Hunter
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
4

Movie

Night Hunter succeeds based on its outstanding star-laden cast and clever twists, making it worthwhile for fans of gritty procedural thrillers.

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