Film Review: ‘Night of the Hunter’ (1955)

A psychopathic preacher travels from widow to widow; stabbing them in their sleep and stealing their riches.

A strange and unique film, the first (to my knowledge) to portray a serial killer, but through the dual filters of a macabre fairytale and a 1950’s morality play.

The acting is for the most part hammy (apart from a superbly sinister turn from Mitchum) but it’s still surprisingly scary, or at least unsettling to watch.

It perhaps seems a little overrated when compared with more striking thrillers like Psycho that were to come just 5 years later. It’s an interesting but inconsistent film, and I’m a little undecided on first watch what I really think of it. But I would definitely recommend giving it a watch and deciding for yourself. I certainly can’t think of a film like it before or since.

7/10

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