From Stephen King, comes a new tale of terror. What flies by night in a dark winged Cessna, lands at secluded airports and brutally murders local residents? For one reporter, the story of a lifetime may be his last. ' 'The... more » best King adaptation since Misery.' ' (Fangoria)« less
Douglas C. from KEASBEY, NJ Reviewed on 10/6/2009...
How interesting of the Hollywood movie machine to be able to take a really short story and make it into a full length movie. Not one of his best stories, it is however a Stephen King story and worth watching.
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Bloody great vampire flick
Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 08/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Watching a film based on a Stephen King novel is an adventure fraught with peril. No other author, not even Michael Crichton, receives as much attention from Hollywood as King does. Regrettably, in the rush to adapt everything this author has written over the past thirty years to the silver screen, terms such as "quality" rapidly flew out the window. While I haven't watched every entry in the King canon, I've seen enough of the good and more of the bad to know that blithely wondering into one of his films involves a considerable risk. It only takes a single experience with "Maximum Overdrive" (directed by the "Maine" man himself, incredibly) or "Cat's Eye" for a viewer to think twice about hauling that "based on a novel by Stephen King" DVD off the video store shelf. But for every disaster there does exist a "Carrie," a "Shawshank Redemption," or another film that makes the effort worthwhile. "The Night Flier" falls in the latter category, a movie so incredibly good that it's a wonder more people haven't heard about it. This is a film casual fans of Stephen King may not know about, and more's the pity because of their unawareness.
Some nut in a pitch black Cessna is flying around the country and landing at small, out of the way airports in order to messily kill the personnel on duty. All of these grisly incidents take place in the middle of the night, not in and of itself particularly strange, but the actual killings raise a host of intriguing questions screaming for someone to investigate. No one makes a connection that these crimes might be linked until a bottom feeding trash tabloid paper called "Inside View" gets a whiff of the story. The star reporter for this rag, Richard Dees (Miguel Ferrer), eventually expresses an interest in the killings when the facts become too weird to ignore. This journalist (a term used loosely) boards his own small plane and begins to follow the crimes up and down the East Coast. Dees faces a host of problems during his investigation, including the reluctance of witnesses to speak about what they know. Bigger difficulties emerge in the form of Merton Morrison (Dan Monahan), the sleazy editor of "Inside View," and a hungry new reporter looking for her first big break named Katherine Blair (Julie Entwisle). Dees isn't too worried about these problems since he understands completely the ins and outs of tabloid journalism, and knows from years of experience how to hold his own against rivals and unenthusiastic witnesses.
Dees's excursions slowly uncover a series of sinister clues to the identity of the unknown pilot. The enigmatic aviator's name is Dwight Renfield, and the guy only flies at night. He also seems to possess a weird ability to control the minds of some of his victims, victims left lying in county morgues with holes in their necks that you could drive a tractor through. Dees knows he's on to something huge, a story that could very well put him back on page one of "Inside View." As the reporter homes in on his quarry, he learns Renfield knows about him and knows what he's trying to do. Ominous incidents start occurring, messages left in blood in Dees's hotel room warning the reporter to cease and desist, stalking, things like that. Richard isn't the sort of guy that scares easily, however, so he takes these warnings as signs that he's about to break the big story. Meanwhile, back at "Inside View" headquarters, Dees reticence to reveal the juicy details of the case to Morrison leads the editor to assign eager beaver Blair to the story. The boss chuckles over imagining the hostility that will inevitably occur when Dees learns he's been steamrolled. Better Dees should worry about what will happen when he finally confronts Dwight Renfield than what Blair or Morrison are planning.
I loved "The Night Flier" when I first saw it on pay television back in the late 1990s, and a recent viewing reaffirmed my initial impressions. This movie has it all in spades: sleazy characters deeply developed, a massively scary vampire, and gore ramped up to insane levels. Miguel Ferrer slams it out of the park as the cynical, world-weary Richard Dees, a journalist so fed up with the nightmares of humanity that he formulates the personal philosophy "Never publish what you believe, and never believe what you publish" in order to keep his emotional distance. The picture succeeds because King, and by extension the filmmakers, rework the vampire mythos in a fresh way. This story rightly equates trash media with vampirism, and you never know who the real blood feeder is in the film. Dees, for example, stops at a gory highway accident to snap a few pictures of the mangled bodies in the cars, not because he plans to write a story about the incident but because he simply can't resist exploiting a graphic tragedy. Merton Morrison, upon hearing a few tidbits about Renfield's latest spree, exclaims, "God, I hope he kills more people!" As bad as Renfield is, he pales in comparison to these modern day Draculas.
Aside from the social messages in the film, "The Night Flier" also boasts one of the scariest looking vampires we've ever seen in a movie. That final showdown between Dees and Renfield, when the vampire finally shows the reporter his true face, will make you shudder. As for the DVD, a trailer, production notes, and cast and crew biographies are all the extras you get on the disc. I highly recommend this movie to fans of the vampire film genre. Heck, I recommend this film to anyone who wants to watch a genuinely scary film. "The Night Flier" is an unmitigated winner.
Stephen King done RIGHT
Tony R. Tucker | Crewe, VA United States | 04/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Many Stephen King films just don't capture the scares Mr. King probably intended. Although The Shining DID and King hated that movie, so I am not sure if he likes The Night Flier or not. Well, he should. I read the story before the movie was made and the film if very faithful to the story and captures the feel perfectly. My town has a small airport like the ones featured in the story and film. No one goes there on a daily basis, so a small plane landing and the vampire pilot feasting on the small landing strip crew, is not only believable, but spooky for me (since I live about half a mile from our "airport".The Night Flier follows a tabloid has-been reporter (played by Miguel Ferrer with his usual gravel-toned zest) chasing a small plane pilot who travels from small airstrip to small airstrip killing the crews he finds in a way that suggests he is (or thinks he is) a vampire. My biggest problem with the DVD is that the killer is displayed on the front and back of the DVD packaging, thereby taking away any of the big surprise reveal of the killer's face near the end. I hate that. It includes a trailer and a slide-show type behind the scenes story about the making of the film.Bottom line, this is one of the good Stephen King films. It's not blatantly scary, but it does have a certain sustained suspense to it as the journalist gains ground on his prey."
A terrific vampire movie true to King's unique vision
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 06/30/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Night Flier is easily one of the best film adaptations of a Stephen King piece of fiction. One thing this movie does is prove that a movie can be very enjoyable without any likable characters. The protagonist, Dees, is a successful tabloid reporter who has not produced a front-page story in quite a while. Dees is selfish, chauvinistic, egotistical, and permanently ornery--a complete, all-around jerk. His editor is a younger man who really loves his job, especially when he can put the screws to Dees. The tabloid features stories of alien abduction, grisly deaths, misshapen babies, etc. Both Dees and the editor insult the "hicks" and weirdoes who both supply their stories and purchase their weekly rag. Dees initially turns down the request to do a story on a vampire-like stranger who flies into desolate little airports and kills whomever he finds there, but a subsequent murder convinces him the story is a big one that can get his name and photo back on the front page. To complicate matters, though, a new young reporter whom Dees despises is also assigned the story. The two eventually cross paths in pursuit of the newly-dubbed Night Flier. By that time, Dees is almost convinced that the murderer is actually a vampire. The ultimate and inevitable confrontation takes place in the Wilmington, North Carolina airport. The conclusion of the movie is quite original, perfectly fitting, and eminently satisfying. King's story provides an unusual twist to the often-overdone vampire theme and guarantees the film's great success. I don?t know if this story constitutes an attack on the tabloid news business, but clearly every member of the film's Inside View newspaper operates without morals (never mind journalistic integrity) and without any respect for readers. I should note that viewers are treated to a fair amount of blood and gore--while horror fans like myself love to see it, squeamish viewers may have a few rough moments before the closing credits. Overall, this is a high-quality, well-made horror movie that manages to retain the magic of King's original story. Many other horror films may be more familiar to viewers, but few are more satisfying."
DECENT VAMPIRE FLICK
Anton Ilinski | Moscow, Russia | 11/04/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
""The Night Flier" is a good low budget horror flick which has only one minus already mentioned in other reviews - its box cover. Imagine some detective film which would have the killer's portrait with a knife on the cover. I still can't come up with a reason why the studio did it. I try but I can't. And now a little about the movie itself. It's rather creepy and mysterious (forget now about the cover), it sticks close to Stephen Kings' work spirit. Besides to my opinion it's the best performance to date of Miguel Ferrer. I haven't seen him like that before although he's always good. But here his ruthless and unscrupulous reporter really looks different and just awesome. His methods and black humor will make you grin and shudder. "The Night Flier" is not a milestone horror picture but it's quite decent and I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy it if you are not expecting something extraordinary."
Daniel Jolley | 06/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You usually see in vampire movies of some dude that looks like human except he has sharp teeth, and bulgy eyes. But that doesn't count for Nosferatu, that scared the heck out of me too. But Stephen doesn't want it to be just another vampire movie, but a movie that is much more diffrent and more strange. The gore is in the movie is so realistic, it seems as though they used real blood in the shots, and it makes you more afraid of the vampire, or I should say beast in the movie. Stephen makes the beast not like a vampire, except for the blood sucking, but more of some type of supernatural being, like SpringHeeled Jack, or someother true story humanoids. The cape kinda makes it a little less scary, but how when that old man tells how the cape looks like bats wings, makes it more frightning. The beast doesn't turn into a bat, but a dog, a very common house pet. That should make you start watching your back when you see a chocolate lab retriever. To say the least, this is the most horrific movie I've seen, next to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre."