In 2043 the world as we know it has dramatically changed. With North America under military control, children and teenagers are deemed the property of the state. If a parent or guardian tries to hide a young one, they are marked as breaking the law and suffer tragic consequences. Regardless of the laws, a woman named Niska (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers) has kept her daughter Waseese (Brooklyn Letexier-Hart) a secret and well hidden. If Waseese is ever found, she’ll be sent to a children’s academy, ultimately becoming a brainwashed human weapon.
As the film begins, we witness Niska and her daughter continuing to survive and be careful with their every moment. Unfortunately for Niska, a tragic incident involving her daughter Waseese forces her to give her daughter up into the hands of the authorities. Niska refuses to let her daughter go though, and discovers a vigilante group with the desire and determination to break into the academy and rescue as many young people as possible. The vigilante group leaders strongly believe that Niska is the key to making it happen. Will Niska join this new mysterious group and see her daughter alive again?
Following a similar vibe and tradition to other well-known films such as The Hunger Games and Maze Runner, Night Raiders is an action film that also carries thriller moments and strong sci-fi themes. As the film begins, it’s fairly evident that all on display has been done on a low budget. That being said, the film carries plenty of creativity in its technology, weapons and costumes. The world that is presented on-screen is also great and believable.
While the world of Night Raiders is quite effective, the film does sadly present a few weaker aspects. The characters are well written, but I couldn’t help but feel that selected performances here were either weak or emotionless. Certain moments of line delivery come across as very corny and lacking expression. The plot builds towards something big and major, but the results feel disappointing and small compared to the investment given by the audience. A few reveals are creative but never fully explained, leaving movie lovers feeling quite confused or, like myself, hoping for a greater outcome given the journey of the leads.
Overall, following a similar vibe to titles such as The Hunger Games or Maze Runner, Night Raiders successfully delivers a creative sci-fi thriller on a small budget. I love the world created on-screen, and aspects such as costuming and weapons are also pleasing. However, while I appreciate multiple areas, the film is sadly unmemorable and fails to deliver an impacting experience. Characters are well created, but performances sometimes feel a little lifeless. The finale is disappointing considering the investment and build-up, and the conclusion ultimately feels extremely vague and unclear.