Home Horror Movies TADFF 2021 Review: ‘Nightshooters’ is a Blood-Spurting Blast of Action

TADFF 2021 Review: ‘Nightshooters’ is a Blood-Spurting Blast of Action

by Kelly McNeely

Chock full of explosives, villain monologues, and elaborately choreographed fight scenes, Nightshooters gushes blood. It’s a crowd-pleasing midnight movie that combines intense character moments with fast-paced action, building an all-too-relatable story in which the danger is frighteningly real. 

In Nightshooters, a small film crew is working on their last few pickup shots in a building set for demolition (as a way to cut some financial corners for the movie’s modest budget). In true guerrilla filmmaking fashion, nobody knows they’re there, so when the team inadvertently witnesses a gangland hit they soon find themselves as a new target. The crew must use their industry talents to survive what is surely the worst night of their careers. 

Written and directed by Marc Price, Nightshooters offers a peek behind the curtain of an independent film set (as fictionally stereotypical as it is). It’s a great premise for an action film, where each member of the crew possesses a certain set of skills that aid them in their fight for survival. Naturally, it’s the stunt man and pyrotechnics guru who really do the heavy lifting, but it’s a solid team effort that encourages an emotional connection to each character. 

On the other side of things we have the proper British gangsters, who inspire intimidating fear and moments of dark comedy in equal measure. The film does, admittedly, suffer from a great deal of “shut up and shoot”, where the villains point their weapons and then proceed to talk about how they’re going to kill them. But every hero needs a moment to gain the upper hand so it’s really not unexpected in a film such as this. 

I greatly appreciate a good fight scene, and the action sequences in Nightshooters were unexpectedly great. Had I seen this in a theater with a full audience (as Toronto After Dark had originally intended), there’s no doubt in my mind that the crowd would have gone wild at a few choice maneuvers. Using a stunt man as a leading character gives the perfect excuse to have a martial arts expert on the team, and his skills are used wisely. 

The stuntman character, Donnie, is played by award-winning action actor and designer Jean-Paul Ly, who does all his own stunts in the film (and serves as fight choreographer). His work is very impressive, and giving Ly the space to take the lead on the action really allows him to kick some ass while also getting significant (and much deserved) screen time. Overall, a very wise decision from Price; it’s the best opportunity for a stunt person to play an active-yet-meta role in a film since the legendary Zoe Bell in Death Proof.

Nightshooters has everything you’d want from a midnight action movie; great fights, characters you can connect with, high emotional stakes, and lots of blood. It’s low budget with high return. There may be a very familiar formula to it, but it pulls you through with genuine moments of excitement and intensity. And it’ll give you a whole new appreciation for anyone working on  a pyrotechnics crew.


For more from Toronto After Dark 2021, check out our review of Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break

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