NIGHT HUNTER ** Canada 2018 Dir: David Raymond. 98 mins
In Night Hunter a police detective becomes intertwined with a vigilante duo as he attempts to dissect a deranged man who has been abducting girls. In the vein of Prisoners (2013), Night Hunter is another male centric film about an issue that overwhelmingly affects women.
Vigilantism and the abuse of women are frequently linked in the thriller genre as well as the rape-revenge subgenre of horror, heavily implying that traditional forms of law enforcement are failing when it comes to getting justice for victims of this type of crime. Where films like Hard Candy (2005) and Monster (2003) focus on vigilante women for empowering effects, Night Hunter choses to focus on a male police officer and a male vigilante. The abuse of the female victims becomes secondary to masculinities shattered by the fear that they cannot protect the women in their lives. The privileging of male experience extends to Simon, the deranged man in question. His victim’s voices become background noise and background characters while he is one of the few fully fleshed out characters this film contains.
Henry Cavill, known primarily for his role as Superman in 2013, plays the leading police lieutenant who coincidentally has less personality than an action figure doll with a Superdad setting. He is aided in his investigation by Rachel (Alexandra Daddario) whom he undermines repeatedly. If the Me Too movement shown us anything it’s that women have been dealing with men like Simon regularly since early adulthood and perhaps have more insight into these issues than Night Hunter gives them credit for.
Review by Joanna Simpson