I’m back with another Netflix Watch Instantly recommendation titled NAKED FEAR. Yeah, I know it sounds like a Steven Seagal movie, but this Canadian thriller starring Joe Mantegna (before his CRIMINAL MINDS stint) and a very naked Danielle De Luca, turned out being a pretty decent flick — if you skip the first 45 minutes.
A small town girl is forced to strip in a New Mexico shit-hole that also happens to be an active serial killer’s stomping grounds. A serial killer whose modus operandi is abducting prostitutes, then setting them free in the wilderness where he hunts them down like animals.
The film is based loosely off of American serial killer, Robert Hansen, who would hunt down prostitutes he’d abducted and set free into the Alaskan wilderness. This is one of the reasons why I even gave this film a shot and the fact that it’s directed by Thom Eberhardt, the man behind one of my guilty pleasures, 1984′s NIGHT OF THE COMET. Check out the trailer followed by a bit of my blurb-free rambling.
Ok, so maybe the trailer isn’t the best thing to show when trying to convince someone to give this movie a shot. It seems more successful at showing off the film’s low-budget trappings that almost made me turn it off.
But trust me when I say that the film’s unsure footing eventually becomes more steady, picking up the pace somewhere around the halfway point. That’s when our lead heroine is set free, butt-nekkid, into the Alaskan wilderness, and NAKED FEAR magically turns into a pretty decent, low-budget thriller right before your eyes– and not just because of De Luca’s ass, as fine as it is.
It’s just a shame the first half of NAKED FEAR is just so awful and stuffed to the gills with horrible acting. Eberhardt takes too long to introduce all the characters while getting us to care about some dumb broad and her dumb decisions. She’s shown to be quite resourceful, her small town naivety being the cause of her getting tangled up in a shady stripping outfit, so it was too hard to buy that she was just that damn stupid. The people playing her handlers don’t do a good job of selling it either, never coming off as threatening or presenting any form of true menace that would leave me to believe De Luca’s character’s only option out of her situation involved sucking men’s dicks in alleys.
To add to this, the clunky dialog is delivered so awkwardly that I almost turned it off to go test my new removable shower head’s bidet capabilities, convinced I had been tricked into watching a Lifetime movie version of THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME. But I cannot lie, I had heard De Luca spends a good portion of the film in her birthday suit, and I can be described as a lot of things, but a man who passes up the chance to look at pretty women naked isn’t one of them.
When the film gets to that portion…the naked fear portion…I was treated to a naked De Luca alright, but I quickly realized I was also being treated to a pretty taut thriller. Some expository scenes back in the town break up the cat-and-mouse games a bit, but they do move the plot along and are pretty short. But seriously, once all the terrible dialog is no longer needed and Eberhardt is left to film De Luca being hunted, NAKED FEAR was kinda fun to watch and at one point, De Luca’s character comes across some campers, turned a little troublesome.
So if you get bored one night, check this one out and just skip past the first half and begin watching after the abduction of De Luca’s character. I’ve never watched a movie that changed in quality as drastically as this one does, so it’s tough to score. But overall, taking into consideration the decent last half and the fact I streamed this via Netflix, I’m giving NAKED FEAR two and a half seedy strip clubs out of five.
Note: I wrote this a while back and never posted it because I’m slack like that, but it seems as if this is no longer available to watch instantly on Netflix. To be honest, since that’s the case at the moment, I couldn’t recommend wasting a DVD rental spot with this movie unless you just have nothing else better to watch, or are a serial killer movie completist like myself.