Naked Fear


by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

I think this film gave me my biggest surprise of the year.

Except for the opening credit sequence, the first 44 minutes of this movie are god-awful, consisting of melodramatic situations populated by cardboard characters being acted by performers who couldn't get decent roles in dinner theater. I was wondering how this film could have been directed by Thom Eberhardt, an experienced 60-year-old man who has directed such competent films as:

  • Without A Clue, which stars Michael Caine and Ben Kingsley as Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson
  • Captain Ron, a pretty funny lowbrow comedy starring Martin Short and Kurt Russell.

The opening credits show a yokel wearing his hunting gear, tracking down and shooting a naked girl. She is only wounded, so he approaches her and shoots her in the head with a handgun, as one might do with a wounded buck. That scene was actually very effective, offering some hope that the film would be good.

That hope would soon be dashed.

The scene then switches to a small desert town which has recently experienced an epidemic of missing strippers. There's no mystery about what will happen. The fate of the missing girls is obvious, and it is only a matter of time before the naive new stripper becomes the latest girl recruited to be the Most Dangerous Game. It takes 44 minutes of tedious exposition and irrelevant sub-plots to bring the hunter and his naked prey together for the start of that hunt, and they are 44 of the most amateurish minutes ever put onto film by en experienced filmmaker. I was cursing my fate that I had to watch this (for the reported nudity). I was in an especially sour mood because even the nudity in the first 44 minutes is a tease.

And then I got my surprise.

Once the movie began in earnest, with the actual pursuit, it became spellbinding. The stiff line readings became irrelevant because it was just an armed man chasing a naked woman through the woods. No need for them to deliver any Wildean dialogue, or any other dialogue for that matter. And Eberhardt suddenly remembered what he was supposed to do to make a film suspenseful and exciting. Not only that, his direction became very smooth. He used camera angles, including overheads, to show the strategic maneuvers of the two actors on their outdoor chessboard, occasionally to demonstrate how close they could be without one being aware of the other's presence. He used POV techniques effectively to show when one of them found another. He used foreshadowing to focus in on important items that could be used as weapons or on terrain that could be used by the girl to hide or escape or plan an ambush. As long as those two characters were the focus of the film, I never gave a single thought to the passage of time until the hunt had reached a conclusion.

There were still a couple of clunky scenes which took place back in town as people noticed first that the girl was missing, and then that the yokel hadn't returned on schedule. Those cutaways may have been necessary to the plot, and they were mercifully short, but since they were expository, they required more badly-delivered dialogue. The good news is that once the action returned to the wilderness, the film again became suspenseful and interesting, and moved along beautifully except when dialogue was needed. What's more, there were some interesting, unexpected and credible plot twists out there in the outback as one of them, then the other, gained the upper hand in a seesaw battle.

In fact, if this film had started in minute 44, I would be raving about what a beautifully paced indie film it is. Unfortunately that is not the case, so all I can say is what I started with: what an incredible surprise. If you were to divide this picture into two films, you would start with a very bad 44-minute film. Who could expect that to be followed by a taut, riveting 60-minute film, using the same characters, filmed and performed by the same team?

Not I.




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4.6 IMDB summary (of 10)


Straight to DVD.


  • Sonja Runar was naked in the opening credit sequence.
  • Not only did the film become entertaining when the hunt began, but it finally delivered on the nudity as well. Danielle De Luca did a 19 minute nude scene. Literally. She went nineteen consecutive minutes without a stitch of clothing on her body at the beginning of the hunt.
  • De Luca also showed some T&A in a strip scene.
  • At least one other anonymous stripper exposed her breasts in the background of a strip club scene.




Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


The second half of this movie is quite good, but I can't imagine anybody sticking with it long enough to find out. The IMDb score of 4.6 may be fair on balance, but the viewing experience is like watching a a 2.6 movie followed by a 6.6 movie.