An edge-of-the-seat thriller unfolding within an enclosed space, Night of the Hunted keeps you guessing the motive and the relationship between the perpetrator and the victim all through the runtime. At the center of this thriller horror is the head of social media at a pharmacy company, Alice. She was returning home from a convention when she and her colleague John stopped at a convenience store for gas. Unbeknownst to them, a sniper was following their every move from behind a church billboard that caught John’s attention. The billboard can be read as both “God is nowhere” and “God is now here,” but the lack of space in the first instance generates an eerie feeling.
Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
In the first few minutes of Night of the Hunted, we are introduced to the secret Alice was hiding from her husband. She and John had attended the convention, and they had spent a few hours at a motel before heading out around two at night. Her relationship with John was intimate, and they were not merely colleagues or friends. When John entered the motel washroom, Alice disconnected her husband’s call in a hurry. Alice and Erik were planning a pregnancy, and the appointment with the fertility expert was crucial. Soon after leaving the motel, they ran out of gas, and they pulled over at a 24×7 gas station. While John filled the tank, Alice entered the convenience store to grab a cup of coffee. John waited for Alice, but she was taking longer than expected. There was no one at the billing counter, and just when Alice was about to leave after leaving some cash at the desk, the sniper shot at her. A bullet hit her in the arm, and the agonizing pain left her screaming. The situation was unexpected and bizarre, and it took some time for Alice to figure out the trouble she was in.
When the gas indicator started to blink again, John realized there was something wrong. He noticed that the tank was leaking, and he entered the store only to find Alice hiding behind the aisle, talking to someone over the walkie-talkie. John was immediately shot dead by the sniper. The two-way radio at the billing counter caught Alice’s attention when a man started to repeatedly ask for Amelia. Alice begged the man to call the police for help, and he was her only hope to escape. Just when she breathed a sigh of relief, thinking that help was on the way, the stranger on the radio stated that he had killed John. Alice had been communicating with the sniper all along; he had tactfully found out details that would help him estimate the situation at the store.
Who Was The Sniper?
The mystery in Night of the Hunted is rooted in the identity of the sniper. The man claimed to be the husband of the cashier, Amelia. Apparently, she was cheating on him, and he did not spare her. Amelia was shot dead before Alice entered the store. The sniper tried to justify his decision, suggesting that his conscience made it impossible for him to accept his wife’s betrayal. Alice was also not faithful to her husband, and the sniper knew her secret. Whether or not the man was Amelia’s husband is also debatable, considering that Dough explicitly stated that it was untrue. The sniper was possibly bluffing to get to Alice, and he shot Amelia simply because he needed her dead to execute his plan. Was it planned, or was the attack just a random incident that unfolded in the middle of the night at a remote gas station? And even if it was, the sniper had a good judgment of character. Did the wedding band give away Alice’s secret? Was he waiting to torment just about anyone who entered the store?
The sniper gradually revealed the many reasons that motivated him to execute his plan. He was convinced that his actions were directed towards a larger cause. According to him, Alice deserved to die because she was a self-centered woman who climbed the corporate ladder by betraying others. He made a series of assumptions about her—from her selling drugs that harmed uncountable consumers to her falsely accusing a man of sexual assault for promotion. All the information that he had on Alice could be easily found on social media; therefore, it might as well not be a personal vendetta. The sniper was a self-righteous man, an anti-vaxxer, perhaps someone who had a page on social media dedicated to meninists. He believed that the world was unfair, particularly to men who expressed their beliefs, and he was fighting for their existence. Maybe he did lose his job to a woman, or maybe he knew of someone who did, and he was out to punish everyone responsible for the rapidly changing world. He wanted the blood of all the liberals who destroyed his nation and reduced the sacrifices of the army to dust. To him, Alice represented the ideology he was fighting against, and therefore, she needed to be destroyed. Alice tried to explain the struggle she was going through in her marriage and pregnancy, but the perpetrator had already vilified her, and none of her explanations were of any value to him.
At the end of Night of the Hunted, when the hunter and the hunted come face-to-face, the sniper exclaims that she should have left him alone, a statement that once again can be interpreted both ways. The idea was to hide the identity of the sniper all along to keep the audience guessing whether it was personal revenge or an attack by a sociopath determined to terminate the morally corrupt. The gas leak is perhaps the only reason to consider that the man could have been following Alice from the motel, and maybe they shared a past that left him bitter.
Did Alice Survive In The End?
With only the items at the store at her disposal, Alice proved to be extremely resourceful, and she held onto her dear life for as long as she could. She had the mentality of a survivor, and that was why she could put up with the grueling pain for hours. How Alice reacted to the situation and whether or not she was morally tainted is not a black-and-white discussion, considering that she was fighting for her life. While Alice was unable to save the lives of strangers who happened to stop at the station and were eventually shot by the sniper, she risked her life for a little girl who was hiding in a car. The girl was traveling with her grandparents, and Alice begged the sniper to lower his gun. She agreed to sacrifice her life for the child, but the little girl was too afraid to run to the gloomy main road. She instead walked to the store once she realized that Alice was looking out for her. Since Alice did not stick to her end of the bargain, the sniper decided to walk to the store to deal with her.
In the meantime, Alice managed to break open the back door lock, and she hid the little girl in the garage. She prepared to face the unknown monster and struck him when he least expected it. The sniper was severely wounded, but he managed to grab hold of Alice at the end of the film. The little girl heard a gunshot and saw Alice lying on the ground. She watched the man in boots and a camouflage uniform enter the garage. He had the key to the garage, and he opened the exit. Maybe he was an employee at the store, or he stole the keys after shooting Amelia. Just when he promised to not harm the little girl, Alice came from behind and struck him in the head.
During Night of the Hunted‘s ending, Alice once again asked the little girl to leave, but she was too afraid. She watched the bloody fight between Alice and the sniper. Alice crushed the head of the vengeful stranger and ultimately succumbed to her wounds. She ensured that the child was safe before collapsing on the floor. The little girl ran to the main road; she had witnessed unimaginable gore and brutality. Maybe it will take her years to fathom what she has lived through. Within a few hours, she had to experience the pain of losing her grandparents and the panic of watching two strangers fight. She had overcome her fear of dying when the sniper came close to her, and she ultimately had to face her anxious thoughts while walking aimlessly in the hope of finding help. The little girl was unaware of opposing ideologies; she must have left wondering why the man was after her and the woman who saved her life. She will only find the answer to her questions once she grows up and realizes how bloodthirsty the world is.