Night Stalker

Starring: Roselyn Sanchez, Danny Trejo and Bret Roberts
Mosaic Entertainment
Certificate: 18
Available now

A young Hispanic LAPD cop is called to a house where nothing has been recently seen of the occupier, only to witness the aftermath of a brutal killing. There are blood pentagrams on the walls, and Satan-related messages. When the killer strikes again the cop is asked to join the team of homicide detectives investigating the case (pretty unlikely, I'd say). When she leaks a witness's police sketch of the killer to a reporter, she puts both their lives in danger. The killer is now looking for them, and he knows just where to find them...

Night Stalker is a difficult one to call. I can understand writer and director Chris Fisher's intentions here, but does the finished product actually work? Yes and no. It makes its statement, I suppose, but achieves very little impact. The sad fact is I simply didn't care about anything that was happening on screen.

The killer's drug-induced psychosis drives his will to kill, influenced by his belief that he is possessed by a demon. We see the viscous white ghoul sometimes completely separate and occasionally joined by the back or head. All this time we hear the incoherent murmurs of the demon (presumably in the Stalker's head) giving his incessant instructions. To display the fact that the killer is constantly high on drugs we get fast moving images and lots of quick cuts back and forth. These sequences are used far too often and prove extremely irritating.

The sound quality is curiously poor. In many scenes dialogue is lost to traffic or aircraft noise, and sometimes the overemphasised music soundtrack. In short, this could be an episode of any late night cop thriller series. It's the kind of thing American audiences are seeing every day, and UK viewers almost as often.

I do like some serial killer crime fiction, particularly if the plot strands are strong and induce us to work on our logic and reasoning skills for the end result. With Night Stalker there's no thinking required, and very little makes it stand out from the crowd.

Ty Power