In a large skyscraper, doctors are keeping people who suffer from amnesia locked up. But their brains are slowly rotting away from having been exposed to nuclear activity, turning them to maniacs. Two women have escaped the asylum but because of their sudden loss of memory they'll soon end up where they started.
You can see an obvious turn in this movie from Jean Rollin's other ones. While it shares plenty, this one seems much more inspired by the more mainstream horror movies of the era. Maybe most importantly the work of David Cronenberg ("Shivers" and "Rabid"), but also the zombie boom.
The story starts with our lead, Elysabeth, running away from something in the woods and gets picked up by a guy in a car. When they leave, it turns out that her friend Véronique was left in the woods. We later find out that Elysabeth suffers from amnesia, and she only vaguely remembers what happened in the woods the night before. After some extensive love-making with her new man-friend (I think the scene was 5+ minutes long) and bonding with him, she is soon picked up by people from an asylum that wants her back. They take her to a skyscraper where they let the amnesia sufferers roam free, with their own rooms. But after having been exposed to nuclear activity, the inmates (for the lack of a better term) start to act strange. Some only fall victims to depression, while others... they start raping and killing people.
This is still in every sense a typical Jean Rollin film - you have the sudden nude scenes (and plenty of them - all good looking chicks!), slooooow story, Brigitte Lahaie, a poetic atmosphere (but less than most of his work), some brief gore and of course, people who act like vampires or zombies (in this case they are more like zombies). And of course, an overall feel of "why do I continue to watch his films?". All kidding aside, I have fallen under his spell even though the majority of his films have bored me endlessly.
I was really confused by the music though. It had terrible choirs that almost sounded like it was done by the actors on screen instead of in the background music. Not being an expert in any way when it comes to music, there's not better way for me to explain that part. Not to mention there were times where I was wondering if they tried to mix the theme to "Rosemary's Baby" with the sound of an ambulance. It was just weird, a bit annoying, and highly appropriate for his strange take on a so-so familiar plot.
"Night of the Hunted" is far from his worst and I especially appreciate that it differs a bit in locations and story. The lack of castle and beaches are certainly a big plus for the film. The beautiful Brigitte Lahaie is a pleasure to watch (in her nude) as always. I think once things started kicking in with the murders in the "asylum", the movie was highly entertaining in a sleazy Jean Rollin kinda way. It's just a shame that the other parts of the movie suffered from the same ol' Rollin disease.