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With: Alexandra Daddario, Henry Cavill, Minka Kelly, Ben Kingsley, Nathan Fillion, Stanley Tucci, Eliana Jones, Sara Thompson, Brendan Fletcher, Emma Tremblay
Written by: David Raymond
Directed by: David Raymond
MPAA Rating: R for disturbing and violent content, language throughout, and some sexual references
Running Time: 98
Date: 09/06/2019

Night Hunter (2019)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Tricks and Mistreating

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Overly serious, slow, clunky, and confusing, this generic thriller tries to take aim at fictitious sexual predators, but it ultimately can't shake its grim attitude toward its own female characters.

In Night Hunter, police, led by Marshall (Henry Cavill), investigate a series of crimes committed by sexual predators, but make slow progress. Meanwhile, Lara (Eliana Jones) and her guardian, former judge Cooper (Ben Kingsley), have set up a system to entrap the predators, and catch them. But their latest target isn't so easy to catch and Lara disappears.

With Cooper's help, the police soon find her and uncover a long series of crimes, wherein many women suffered at the hands of Simon (Brendan Fletcher). Profiler Rachel (Alexandra Daddario) tries to get to the bottom of his behavior, but time is running out, and before long, everyone's lives will be at stake.

As vicious as Night Hunter is toward its abusive male villains — one man is castrated — it's equally clueless toward its female characters, who are used as bait, in need of rescue, or even shot and killed. Daddario's Rachel seems like a strong character, trying to berate the bad guy into giving up his secrets, but though she's painted as more humane than her partner Marshall, she's largely ineffectual. Likewise, for all the Lara character's wisecracking, she's all-too-easily kidnapped.

The males don't fare much better. Cavill gives another of his emotionless, one-note performances, while Ben Kingsley and Stanley Tucci seem out of place, as if they had suddenly woke up and found themselves in the wrong movie. And poor Nathan Fillion has nothing to do and disappears too quickly. There's even a cruel close-call involving a baby!

A directing debut by screenwriter David Raymond, Night Hunter is often puzzling, but in a bad way, convoluted and jarring, with disorienting cinematography and editing. This results in a distinct lack of suspense — the 99 minutes creep icily by — that matches the generic title.

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