Night 0f the Hunted is a 2023 Shudder Original based on the Spanish screenplay by Rubén Ávila Calvo and written by Glen Freyer (Brick by Brick) and Franck Khalfoun (I Lived, Prey) who also directs.
It is in UK cinemas and Shudder from 20th October 2023 courtesy of Shudder and Vertigo Releasing and on Digital Download from 20th November 2023.
“Okay, they’re on their way, operator said to stay put, they should be there in, like, 15 minutes okay?…God, I’m really worried. My wife should have called me by now.”
Alice (Camille Rowe – Hosea, Pet Shop Days) is on her way back from a convention with her ‘work colleague’ John (Jeremy Scippio – Groove). She takes a call from her husband Erik (Aleksander Popovic – Black Widows) as he discusses their meeting with a fertility doctor in the morning, but she has to hang up as John walks in naked. Erik has no idea about her infidelity.
The pair take to the road and soon realise that they are almost out of gas, strange as John filled up the previous night. Alice receives a text from her husband, the Freeway is closed, so they head down an alternative route and pull into the first gas station they see. As Alice is in the shop, someone shoots at her, injuring her arm and she dives for cover.
The unknown sniper is hiding behind a billboard opposite which reads “GODISNOWHERE” and each time she pokes her nose out he shoots. There is a walkie talkie in there which at first she takes to belong to someone trying to help, but soon realises it’s the unknown assailant. He seems to know a lot about her, but who is he, why is he targeting Alice and how did he know she would be there?
She must use everything at her disposal in the well stocked shop to try and keep herself and anyone else who ventures in there alive.
“So hard to think of her with another man. Did I treat her poorly? Abuse her physically. Did I abuse her emotionally, or is everything abusive these days?”
Night of the Hunted is an excellently put together horror/thriller which builds the tension very nicely. The single-location thriller is difficult to nail and this gets it spot on. The acting performances are very good, especially towards the end as Alice grows more and more desperate.
The story is well written too, we never really know the sniper’s motivations, is it personal, anti big pharma, disgruntled ex-employee or MAGA? This ambiguity adds to the peril as we don’t know who might become a victim. The use of the billboard is clever too, does it say ‘God is nowhere’ or God is now here’? Very much depends on your perspective.
What makes this film all the scarier is the uncanny aim of the shooter who never misses even the smallest of targets. Alice’s ingenuity and determination is both inspiring and satisfying and makes this one well worth a watch.
“We seem to be stuck, you and me. Cowering on the floor of a dark and dirty gas station. What a waste. If you’re not interested in saving yourself, well then this is how it all ends.”
Night of the Hunted is in UK Cinemas and Shudder from 20th October 2023 and on Digital Download from 20th November 2023.
|Starring||Camille Rowe, Jeremy Scippio, Aleksandar Popovic, Monaia Abdelrahim|