Watched Jul 10, 2012
While watching The Night of the Hunter, I was repeatedly reminded of Antichrist; I'm still not entirely sure that's a valid comparison, but it's what I thought of. I think there are some very superficial similarities - the beautiful, dream/nightmare-like expressionist style, the detailed shots of animals. But I also think that The Night of the Hunter seemed like a horror movie in the way that Antichrist was a horror movie - not a traditional one, but one that is still very much so, at its core. I think I was even more disturbed by The Night of the Hunter, which did not rely on shock for its horror.
I found this film to be strangely terrifying. The picture is told mostly from the point of view of a little boy whose father robbed a bank and was hanged for the crime. Robert Mitchum, as the man who shared a cell with the boy's father and learned that the father hid the money, is an imposing, menacing presence. Others have pointed out the dreamlike/fairytale nature of the film, but all I felt was a childlike identification with the boy, and the pure desire to get away from that man.
And wow, Lillian Gish.
Also, that was an interesting string of movies - three films in a row in which a character manipulates religion to cover up, justify, or conceal murder.