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2004 | 1998

1 item from 1998

Film review: 'The Night Flier'

6 February 1998 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

A mysterious bloodsucker flies into the boondocks airports of New England, kills the attendants, sucks their blood and disappears into the psychosphere in this adaptation of a Stephen King short story.

Although the blood type of this scarer is G (for generic), young male ghoulheads will likely find sufficient entertainment sustenance in this cannily crafted hacker.

Opening today for New Line in very limited release, "Stephen King The's Night Flier", however, will likely fly straight to video, where it will win a more vital second life.

Inspired by a fringe character from "The Dead Zone", the film centers around a sleazy tabloid reporter, Richard Dees (Miguel Ferrer), who fancies himself a major journalist. Dees is tenacious, irascible and vile and every bit as much a prima donna as one could find on a big-city daily.

Inevitably, every story is too small for his expertise. But Dees has a wily editor who knows how to inveigle him onto any assignment, playing with his ego and goading him to frustration. After all, when Dees digs into a story, he goes all the way. Not surprisingly, Stephen King has pinned this personality strength/flaw to the story's main plot peg as Dees journalistically "stalks" the phantom flier.

King tacks on a juicy philosophical appendage: When does the story, and in particular this kind of grisly story, take over the sensibility of the writer or investigator?

Unfortunately, the plotting gives away its ultimate ending quickly and easily. Even those of us who avoid horror films as much as professional license allows can spot the pat, psychological symmetries of this concoction.

Still, with this type of film, the hacking usually wins out over any hack-job narration and, indeed, "Night Flier" oozes with the lifeblood staples of the genre: caped characters, grisly killings, weird locals, inclement weather and, as ever, the hint of sexual debauchery.

Credit screenwriters Mark Pavia (who also directs) and Jack O'Donnell for lining up the elements and generally keeping them in order. Undeniably, there are some unintentional laughs from the straightforward dialogue.

In general, director Pavia has carved out a serviceable product, infusing it with the right mix of tension and emotional relief. As the consumed tabloid reporter, Ferrer is well-cast, menacing and more than a tad scary. Julie Entwisle, as his young, ambitious protege, exudes the ambitions and contradictions of dewy but deadly "intern" employees.

Technical contributions are solid, with special praise to composer Brian Keane for the chilly yet luscious musical score. It's far better and much richer than this type of film usually gets.


New Line Cinema

New Amsterdam Entertainment Inc.

In association with Stardust International Ltd. & Medusa Film SpA

Presents a Richard P. Rubinstein production

A Mark Pavia film

Producers: Richard P. Rubinstein, Mitchell Galin

Director: Mark Pavia

Screenwriters: Mark Pavia, Jack O'Donnell

Based on a story by: Stephen King

Executive producer: David Kappes

Co-producer: Alfredo Cuomo

Director of photography: David Connell

Special effects make-up: KNB EFX Group Inc.

Editor: Elizabeth Schwartz

Production designer: Burton Rencher

Costume designer:Pauline White

Music: Brian Keane

Casting: Leonard Finger, Lyn Richmond



Richard Dees: Miguel Ferrer

Merton Morrison: Dan Monahan

Dwight Renfeld: Michael H. Moss

Katherine Blair: Julie Entwisle

Running time -- 99 minutes

MPAA rating: R


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2004 | 1998

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