If the name Nightshooters doesn’t exactly instil you with a sense of confidence, rest assured that the concept of Marc Price’s third feature film more than makes up for it. A guerrilla film crew take extreme movie making up a notch when they accidentally catch sight of a gangland murder in an adjacent building. Said gangsters become hell bent on eliminating the witnesses without even the Screen Actor’s Guild available to save them.
In a novel twist, it’s down to the film crew and stars to use their specialist skills to survive: they’ve got a stunt man who’s a kick-ass martial art expert (Jean-Paul Ly); a sound guy who’s got his ear to the ground (Adam McNab) and a special effects expert (The Lobster‘s Rosanna Hoult) who can conjure smoke and mirrors (as well as homemade shotguns).
Nightshooters’ violence expertly flips from flinch-inducing gore to comical ‘Splats, Pows and Ka-Booms’…
What ensues is an enjoyable comedy actioner which falls somewhere between 1986’s special effects crime-fest F/X and the almost equally as vicious Home Alone. Nightshooters’ violence expertly flips from flinch-inducing gore to comical ‘Splats, Pows and Ka-Booms’ which holds interest in the action until the final frame. This is aided in no small part by stand-out Ly, who brings the pain through a serious of fight scenes which build in brutality each time, one ending in a crowd-pleasing Mortal Kombat-esque Fatality. Finish him!
Unfortunately, the Nightshooters script is only slightly less flabby than this writer’s midriff since the Big Mac with Bacon came out, which is a serious shame as there are some genuinely genius moments therein. From the Asian gangster who calls racism when his crew assumes he knows Kung Fu, to a tea-urn gag that guarantees a spit-take, to the back-and-forth banter that hits hard when it actually hits. But like a scrap in a school playground, there’re far more ‘fucks’ flying around than fists and it’s not long before they fall on deaf ears.
Script woes aside, there’s enough here to keep you up at night. Marc Price creates a sense of claustrophobia whilst also giving plenty of scope for sizeable set pieces. Nightshooters’ neat nods to Die Hard and The Raid, alongside on-target references to John Wick and Scott Adkins, make it clear where Price is setting his sights. With a Raindance Festival nomination for Best UK Feature in his back pocket, he’s well on his way to doing some damage.