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Night of the Hunted is ostensibly something of a departure for French horror auteur Jean Rollin. Its story is on the face of it unusual for the director. Its about a mysterious clinic in a high-rise building where patients have a mental disorder where their memories and identities are disintegrating due to an environmental accident. The setting is in the middle of a city and the visuals are ones of sterile urban alienation as opposed to the Gothic surrealism more typically associated with Rollin. Yet, within this veneer is a film that anyone even remotely familiar with the director's work can identify quite easily as one of his films. It has the typical Rollin characters - alluring yet strangely asexual young women in the central roles and extremely dull men in the periphery. The dialogue is as poor as always. The story is as flimsy and senseless as its possible to be. There is an abundance of nudity. It has the strange melancholic, romantic atmosphere which always makes his movies so odd for horror films. And it also displays Rollin's eye for the surreal. The ending in particular on the grassy viaduct over the city being a perfect example of this. In other words, Night of the Hunted, despite surface differences contains all the strengths and weaknesses that all Rollin films have.
The story and setting itself very much recalls the work of David Cronenberg. But the similarities are entirely superficial. As Rollin is pretty much diametrically opposite in approach to Cronenberg as a filmmaker. Where the latter is highly scientific in his approach, Rollin is a pure romantic. In fairness, the story here could have done with a bit of developing to make it entirely satisfying but then you could probably say that about all the other films in the directors oeuvre to some extent. There is a quite nice score which certainly adds to the atmosphere well; while Brigitte Lahaie is a good presence and by some distance the only memorable actor in the entire film.
If you have any hope of enjoying this film you need to be able to buy into the weird haunting world typical of this director. You need to have some appreciation of his visual ideas too. Otherwise I expect you may dislike this rather a lot. I wouldn't say this is a particularly accessible Rollin film; I'm not really sure there is such a thing.
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