Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer: Series Review - Reel Advice Movie Reviews

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer: Series Review

Netflix has brought a lot of true crime shows that have blown up like "Making a Murderer" and "American Murder: The Family Next Door" but "Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer" felt different. It takes us right in front of the investigation with lead detectives Gil Carrillo and Frank Salerno narrating their haunting and harrowing experience as they tried to stop a very prolific and very dangerous serial killer right in their midst. While the show had a tendency to do over-the-top and unnecessary visuals to seemingly extend its runtime, the overall product was extremely entertaining, disturbing, and even fun at the same time.
Beneath the glitz and glamor of 1980s Los Angeles, there lurked a relentless serial killer whose motives are non-existent, random, and doing it in the name of Satan. Two detectives, Frank Salerno and Gil Carrillo won't stop until they catch him because each and single day that passes means more gruesome deaths are going to happen in the city.
Even at only four episodes long, we actually thought that "Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer" could have been shorter still. Not that the content itself overstayed its welcome but the visuals and pacing tended to beat around the bush. Like what does a rat, or a cat, or an insect on a pool have to do with the murders? While it added to some of the atmosphere, these secondary visuals tended to confuse us more than lure us into its narrative. Aside from this minor issue, we actually found "Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer" a very compelling watch. What really set it apart was its decision to focus on the lead investigators and to let them detail their first-hand experiences trying to catch the Night Stalker. It provided more insight and more depth into how an actual investigation worked - including the pitfalls, setbacks, hard decisions, and impacts on their personal lives - that viewers typically forget to account for. If you want a police and victim focused experience, then "Night Stalker" will be the show for you. Unfortunately, for those that want to understand in-depth and intimately how the Night Stalker's or Richard Ramirez's mind ticked, then the show will leave you hanging. While it will eventually feature Ramirez, it doesn't really delve much into his psyche or motivations. Overall, the focus of "Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer" on the actual "hunting" part was greatly appreciated in our opinion. It provided a fresh new take and much needed breather on the true crime documentary genre.
Rating: 4 reels






Why you should watch it:
- the first-hand accounts of the actual detectives that took on the case was a different kind of experience
- the kind of show where you won't even notice that a lot of time has already passed

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- the show had a tendency to provide weird, unconnected but stylized visuals
- this is not focused on the Night Stalker at all so you won't get an intimate understanding on his psyche and motivations

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