NAKED FEAR (October 2nd)
YOU'VE GOT RED ON YOU TAKES PART IN THE 31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN CHALLENGE; WATCHING ONE HORROR MOVIE A DAY THROUGHOUT OCTOBER. SOME OF THEM OLD, SOME OF THEM NEW, SOME OF THEM HAVE JUST BEEN ON OUR SHELVES FOR YEARS GATHERING DUST, STILL IN CELLOPHANE...
It's not uncommon for me to learn of a genre film that I've never heard of before. I'm in my mid-thirties so there's a decent chance that there are quite a few pre-late 80's titles that I've never heard of. The chances of this diminish considerably when we get into the nineties and noughties, which is why when I stumbled upon a little film called 'Naked Fear', released in 2007, my interest was piqued. Honestly, it was that – not the fact that the word 'naked' was in the title. I promise!
Anyway, I'm notoriously bad at spending far too long trawling for films on Prime so I thought why the hell not? (although I was half tempted to watch Ghost Ship instead, I'll be honest)
The film starts off with a naked (and rather distressed) woman running through the New Mexico desert, obviously trying to escape the clutches of something or someone. Within a minute or so she is dead however, shot and killed by a huntsman who has obviously become a bit bored with shooting other innocent creatures for fun (seriously, don't get me started on that subject) and who has spiced things up a bit by pursuing human prey instead. He then proceeds to bury her in the shallowest grave I've ever seen. Honestly, her leg would have been sticking out like a tree stump by the time he was done.
Anyway, the killer's identity remains unknown and we then switch to a small New Mexico town where a young woman named Diana has just started a new job as a dancer in the local strip club. Whilst she tries to deal with sleazy clients and eventually getting enough money together to return home, a new police recruit starts to investigate the recent spate of missing persons cases within the town. His partner (played by the guy that does the voice of Fat Tony in The Simpsons) tells him to drop it but it isn't long before the killer reveals his identity (to us and not the cops) and Diana finds that she's his next target...
Naked Fear plays and feels a little bit like a grainy 70's exploitation music. The sounds quality isn't great, the editing feels a bit retro -as does the baking hot New Mexico setting. Plus, for about thirty minutes of the movie, a woman is basically running around the desert naked. It all feels a little Last House on the Left (1972), mixed with a dollop of The Most Dangerous Game (1932). Whether that was the intention or not remains to be seen but the low production values actually work in the film's favour and adds to the sense of grime and grit. Saying that the film never feels truly perverse or pornographic, it's more of an extreme survivalist movie. It's actually based on the killings of real life serial killer Robert Hansen, who kidnapped dancers and prostitutes and released them in the Alaskan wilderness before hunting them down and killing them.
Naked Fear is far from perfect. The killer is a little bit underwhelming and I sussed out who it was pretty early on. The mounted animal heads on his walls (they literally took up half the room) was another tell tale sign too. The ending doesn't make complete sense either and feels a little out of sorts with the rest of the movie. Some of the acting performances are a little ropey too but hey, what do you expect from a $500k budget? It's a competently made little survivalist movie which never outstays its welcome.
Although the violence and gore are generally of screen, it manages to build an adequate amount of tension and suspense to keep you interested. Lead Danielle De Luca also deserves special praise for a) putting in a decent acting performance and b) being ok with running around with nowt on for a number of scenes.
I must admit that five minutes in, I was of the opinion that there was probably a reason I hadn't heard of this movie, but I left it feeling pleasantly surprised and a little baffled as to how this elevated B-movie had evaded my radar all these years.