Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Night of the Hunter

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: When a young father ends up in jail, sentenced to death for robbing and killing two people, he finds himself bunking down with a crazy Jesus-sick preacher who's also a big-time thief. As soon as the preacher gets wind that the father's stolen money is still up for grabs somewhere, he begins to plot and scheme to get his hands on that money. Once he gets out of the slammer, he quickly seduces the man's wife into remarrying, rendering her blind with a newly-found religious fanaticism, and then he begins to take on the children.

Scariness factor: It's from back in 1955, so there's a lot in it that's really dated and will make you chuckle. But damn if Robert Mitchum isn't creepy.

Gross-Out Factor: As I mentioned, it was made in 1955, so you can pretty much consider this N/A.

Complaints: The datedness. This isn't a knock so much on the movie though, because who can really predict how dated something will feel or how well it will hold up.

High Points: Robert Mitchum. Seriously. The man will freak you the hell out. Especially with his little LOVE-HATE spiel. This movie really does have quite a few tense moments, despite other more slow-moving moments. And it has some beautifully-shot scenes that seem almost out of place in the movie when tucked in amongst less breath-taking moments (see the still below). The use of shadow, and the centering that takes place in some scenes is really creepy. The children are both good actors as is Mitchum. And the woman that adopts them (see pic above) is bad-ass awesome. She was one of my favorite things about this movie--despite having wishy-washy female characters like the preacher's new wife, the woman who adopts them is skeptical of the preacher from the start, does not easily have the wool pulled over her eyes, and sports a shotgun like a proficient veteran. Good stuff.

Overall: It's dated, so at worst, you'll find it boring. But it's a classic, so I'd say it's worthwhile. And you can't beat Robert Mitchum for a good attack of the creeps.

Grade: A/A-



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