Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 9, 2019)
With his Superman days apparently behind him, Henry Cavill moves on to new projects. 2019ís Night Hunter represents Cavillís latest attempt to get past the Man of Steel.
After police arrest notorious serial killer Simon Stults (Brendan Fletcher), it appears that his reign of terror comes to an end. However, it soon becomes obvious that even behind bars, Simon can still create homicidal mayhem.
In the face of this renewed set of deadly attacks, Detective Walter Marshall (Cavill) teams with local vigilante Michael Cooper (Ben Kingsley). They seek to get ahead of the game and prevent additional murders.
As far as serial killer movies go, that seems like a promising premise. The twist that places Simon behind bars gives Hunter a neat spin on the subject matter.
In addition, Hunter comes with a high-quality cast. In addition to Cavill and Kingsley, we find professionals like Stanley Tucci, Alexandra Daddario and Nathan Fillion.
Alas, all these potential positives go splash down the toilet. Despite the possible ways Hunter could add to its genre, it winds up as a wholly ludicrous and derivative thriller.
Expect to see clear influences here. We see more than a few lifts from
Silence of the Lambs, Split, Se7en and other serial killer tales.
I canít blame the filmmakers for their willingness to borrow from the best, but Hunter becomes an ineffective experience. The story tends to plod and ramble, so it doesnít present the drama and tension it needs to thrive.
It doesnít help that the script often veers left for pedantic discussions of abuse, criminal tendencies and other moral lessons. Though well-meaning, these weigh down the tale and feel awkward.
Hunter also tries to provide a moving character tale, mainly via Marshallís strained relationship with his teen daughter Faye (Emma Tremblay). Rather than add weight, these choices feel contrived and forced.
Throw in an absurd plot twist at the end and Hunter flops on most levels. Even with a strong cast and a few intriguing story elements, we get a sluggish, dull thriller that lacks the urgency it needs.