Night of the Hunted


It’s late at night, you’re running low on petrol and you’re bursting for the loo. You then see a sign that a service station is up ahead and you suddenly feel a sense of relief. An oasis at the side of an unending road, with an array of snacks and drinks to choose from.

Of course that sense of calm is ruined now, by the arrival of this taut indie thriller, that’s entirely set – you guessed it – in a remote service station.

boom reviews Night of the Hunted
I will not let that Ikea bookshelf get the better of me!

Getting an early wake-up call from her husband is Alice (Camille Rowe). She attended a conference for work, but she has to get back home for an appointment, hence her leaving her motel in the middle of the night.

She’s not alone however, as she’s with friend and colleague John (Jeremy Scippio), who’s driving her back. Her hubby told her that the freeway was closed, so they have to use an alternative route. On the way the car informs them that they’re low on gas, which is weird as John claims he only filled it up the day before. Still, not taking any chances, they decided to pull in to a quiet gas station to fill up.

After John gives her a list of things he wants her to pick up for him, Alice goes inside to pay. As she does she immediately notices an eerie silence to the place, but that’s understandable considering what time it is. But this sense of something out of place continues when Alice realises that there doesn’t appear to be any staff around.

She isn’t alone however, as unbeknownst to her, she is being watched, from a distance, by someone with a high powered sniper rifle, who is about to introduce himself in no uncertain terms.

boom reviews Night of the Hunted
is that really where they've put the Nik Naks?

Directed by Frenchman Franck Khalfoun, Night of the Hunted is the latest entry in the female protagonist in peril genre. And although it’s a re-make of a foreign film, it isn’t the 1980 French horror film of the same name. Instead it’s based on the 2015 Spanish horror La Noche del Ratón.

It is a film that sees Alice, played by French born actress Rowe, having to survive the night from a distant killer, who is observing her every move through the sight of his sniper rifle.

Khalfoun does well to create the necessary atmosphere within the remote locale as the cat and mouse thriller plays out. What’s less successful is the story itself, specifically some of the disappointing dialogue.

It’s the type of film that relies on the relationship between said cat and mouse, as they communicate through a walkie talkie in the shop. Unfortunately there is far too much social commentary, which somehow includes fertility, for their connection to seem nothing more than absurd. It’s obvious it’s just a tool to stretch out the film to a decent length, as there’s only so much action that can take place between them.

It’s just a shame that more care wasn’t taken regarding the dialogue, as sadly it all amounts to a fair amount of drivel. What’s meant as a means to crank up the psychological tension ends up being utter waffle, which comes across as nothing more than time filler.

It would have been a far sharper and intense affair if it had no dialogue at all, even at the expense of either being far shorter, or just end up making a short film instead.

It is easily at its best when Alice is doing her best to survive, which let’s face it, is the key to success for most films of this genre, and it would have benefitted playing to its strengths.

Although it doesn’t quite hit the target, with a solid performance from Rowe, and a setting that oozes atmosphere, The Night of the Hunted does just enough to still make you weary popping onto the Shell petrol court on your way to picking up that pack of Starbursts.

we give this three out of five