Subtle, it’s not. Robert Mitchum delivers a tour de force performance as the psychotic serial killer with the force of a biblical revivalist. Charles Laughton creates striking expressionist image after striking expressionist image, many of them exceptionally disturbing and much copied.
“Night of the Hunter” ultimately fails at the end by simply letting the tension built through the film dissipate without a cathartic moment or satisfying resolution. Along the way, though, are many of the most beautifully chilling images in cinema.