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Night Hunter

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Night Hunter Movie Poster Image
Generic, confusing, violent, grim sexual-predator thriller.
  • R
  • 2019
  • 98 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Movie theoretically wants to condemn sexual predators, but it doesn't have faintest idea what to do about their victims. Most other positive attributes are largely absent, and women are treated cluelessly (used as bait, in need of rescue, killed).

Positive Role Models & Representations

Rachel is often portrayed as a strong, independent female character who's trying to show empathy and understanding toward the bad guy rather than simply locking him away, but she's eventually thwarted by the story.

Violence

Disturbingly violent themes and images. Suggestions of women being kidnapped, kept in cages, sexually abused. Woman shown locked in cage. Kidnapped baby shipped in cardboard box. Explanation of a man's castration. A character is chased through the woods; she throws herself off a bridge, lands in a logging truck. Mentions of rape. A man punches and kicks a woman. Character shot; several characters die. Guns and shooting. A character shoots himself in head; brief blood splatter. Hitting, punching, slapping. Raging, angry shouting. Exploding car. Car crash. Characters fall through an icy lake, drowning in freezing water.

Sex

Mention of teen girls' naked selfies on social media. A man removes his shirt while attempting to seduce a young woman. Woman unbuttons her shirt to show more cleavage. Mentions of adultery.

Language

Extremely strong, frequent language includes uses of "f--k," "s--t," "t-ts," "c--t," "f--ktard," "bitch," "d--k," "balls," "idiot."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Night Hunter is a police thriller starring Henry Cavill, Ben Kingsley, and Alexandra Daddario about the attempt to catch a sexual predator. It's slow, confusing, and grim, and -- despite taking aim at male abusers -- it treats its female characters fairly poorly. The movie's strong, disturbing violence includes descriptions of women being kidnapped, raped, and abused. An "abuse basement" is shown, with several cages, one of which a woman is inside. A baby is kidnapped and shipped in a cardboard box. There are guns and shooting, an exploding car, a car crash, threats, beating, guns, a vivid description of castration, a man shooting his own head off, and deaths. There are mentions of adultery and teens' nude selfies online, as well as other sex-related talk, a man removing his shirt in hopes of seducing a young woman, and a woman unbuttoning her shirt to reveal more cleavage. Language is extremely strong and frequent and includes "f--k," "s--t," "c--t," and much more.

User Reviews

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What's the story?

In NIGHT HUNTER, police, led by Marshall (Henry Cavill), investigate a series of crimes committed by sexual predators -- but they're making 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 nab, and Lara disappears. With Cooper's help, the police soon find her and uncover a long series of crimes, with many women having 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.

Is it any good?

Overly serious, slow, clunky, and confusing, this generic thriller tries to take aim at sexual predators, but it ultimately can't shake its grim attitude toward its own female characters. As vicious as Night Hunter is toward its abusive male villains -- one is castrated -- it's equally clueless toward the women: They're used as bait, in need of rescue, or even shot and killed. Daddario's Rachel seems like a strong character, but although she's painted as more humane than Marshall, she's largely ineffectual. Likewise, for all of Lara's wisecracking, she's very easily kidnapped.

The men don't fare much better. Cavill gives an emotionless, one-note performance, while Kingsley and Stanley Tucci seem out of place, as if they 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. The directing debut of screenwriter David Raymond, Night Hunter is often puzzling in a bad way -- it's convoluted and jarring, with disorienting cinematography and editing. The result is a distinct lack of suspense (the movie's 99 minutes creep icily by) that matches the generic title.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Night Hunter's violence. How did it make you feel? What makes some media violence more upsetting/disturbing than others?

  • How does the movie portray revenge? Why do you think that's such a popular theme for movies and TV shows?

  • How does the movie view its female characters? Do you consider any of them role models?

  • What's the appeal of serial killer movies?

Movie details

For kids who love thrills

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