Directed by Thom Eberhardt [Other horror films: Sole Survivor (1984), Night of the Comet (1984)]
Beyond most anything else that could be said, Naked Fear is a competent film. It’s not a great one, by any means, but it got the job it set out to do done, even if it ends up being a bit on the depressing side.
Part of this is due to the fact that there’s virtually no humor whatsoever to be found anywhere in the film. It’s a dark, bleak movie, and the main character of Diana (Danielle De Luca) is basically forced into becoming a prostitute and exotic dancer with zero recourse for her to pursue. It’s grim and gritty and entirely based in reality.
More so, one of the few characters trying to help, being Officer Dwight Terry (Arron Shiver), is able to do very little in the way of actually making a difference. In fact, I don’t believe a single thing he does really changes the outcome of the film, and given that he was one of the few who actually cared about the multiple missing girls, it just goes on to kick you down.
De Luca and Shiver both have good performances here, with De Luca standing out quite a bit more, obviously, being the hunted woman throughout most of the film. As the antagonist, J.D. Garfield was solid, though I do sort of wish we got a bit more background on him. Jenny Marlowe and Kevin Wiggins were both good, though Marlowe’s character was hard to stomach. Kudos to Wiggins for playing a solid good guy, though.
If there’s one person in the cast who I wish had more to his story, it’d be Joe Mantegna, an actor I have long known for Criminal Minds, and also co-starred in Thinner, a rather forgettable experience. Here, his cop character is more irksome than most other characters in the film, constantly deriding Shiver’s character for wanting to do actual detective work. It was nice to see him here, sure, but I just wish he was a lot more helpful than he ended up being.
As effective as Naked Fear is in creating a grim story, though, I was never really fully invested. There were some good scenes throughout, but as a whole, I just didn’t see that great of a movie, and I think some of that has to do with an almost stark feel that the movie has. It wasn’t as notable as The Wild Man of the Navidad or Deadfall Trail, but it still felt very bare-bones.
But hey, there’s some decently attractive nude women, so it’s not all a lost cause. Of course, most of the nudity is during the women being hunted down like animals, but to each their own.
Obviously, Naked Fear is nowhere near original in it’s story, as The Most Dangerous Game came out 75 years earlier, and the same idea has been done into many other films, such as Bloodust! and the underrated Turkey Shoot, but it’s still a competently made film. I just don’t think it’s that much more than that, and after seeing it a second time, I highly doubt I’d want to see it a third time.
This is one of the films discussed on Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I talk about this subpar film.