Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

You know the story… small town girl comes to the big city and gets caught up in a web of drugs and prostitution. Except in this movie ‘Naked Fear’, medium sized town girl comes to an even smaller town and gets caught up in a web of prostitution and drugs… and lunatics who kidnap women, strip them down buck ass naked and then proceed to hunt them down like dogs. Same old sad story.

The girl in question today would be Diane Kelper (Danielle De Luca) who apparently won some kind of contest during a beer bong party back in Texas, where she’s originally from, which has led to her getting some kind of sweet gig in this small dusty New Mexico town. ‘Beer Bong’, ‘Sweet Gig’ and ‘New Mexico’ just aren’t terms that are going together all that well for me. Particularly when the cat that’s offering her this gig looks like Fred (Mel MacKaron). Next thing you know Diane finds herself caught up working in a strip club trying to work off the debt that she’s unwittingly accumulated due to Fred flying her to this town for this ‘sweet gig’ and putting her up in a motel so run down that even the cockroaches are complaining.

Across town say hello to new sheriff’s deputy Dwight Terry (Aaron Shriver). Dwight is one of those do-gooder types, which is one of the reasons he’s been banished from Cali to New Mexico. Still Dwight just can’t get this do-goodness out of his system as we witness his fascination with the missing person’s board at his local PD. It seems more young women go missing in this part of the country than any other part of the country in the whole United States. Strange. Dwight is curious why this is the case but his new partner Tom (Joe Mantegna) advises Dwight to mind his own damn business, but that’s a tough thing to do when you’re a natural born do-gooder.

Diane really wants to leave town and stop stripping but considering Fred takes the majority of her wages in repayment fees this is becoming increasingly difficult. Diane’s drug addicted roommate informs Diane that there is a way the natural red head can make some enough money to bolt but Diane really doesn’t want to prostitute herself. Still, she gives it try only to change her mind at the last moment just to find out the guy she was thinking about selling herself to is homicidal serial killer. I think that’s redundant.

Now Diane finds herself in the middle of the woods, buck naked, with this killer giving her fifteen minutes to get a head start before he pulls out his cross bow and ends the game. Initially, the soft and weak Diane doesn’t seem to be much of a challenge, more concerned with covering herself up than running for her life but the survival instinct is a son of a gun as this crazy homicidal serial killer will soon find out.

‘Naked Fear’ is another one of those movies that I’ve recently seen that ended up being far more entertaining than I expected it to be. The reasons that my expectations might’ve have started out low is possibly because ‘Naked Fear’ has a decided low budget look and feel about it. This is just a first impression and I have seen the occasional low budget flick which does rise above, but this a somewhat rare occurrence. As the movie plays on I adjusted to the relatively inexpensive look of the film, as I always tend to do, but the movie still isn’t doing much to differentiate itself with its stock small town characters and slow moving story. What does keep one interested is that we know, from the very first scene, that something wicked is going in this town involving naked women getting shot in the head and it is waiting for an explanation or an exploration of this that keeps you watching.

When the hunt begins ‘Naked Fear’ becomes infinitely better. Part of the slowness of the movie was due to director Thom Eberhardt taking the time develop the character of Diane which pays off in the audience actually caring about what the hell happens to her during the hunt. Kudos to actress Danielle De Luca who basically performed almost her entire role completely nude, without even anything on her feet, running through woods jumping in water all the while having to ‘act’ while being completely nude and the young woman pulled it off. Actor J.D. Garfield also did well taking his serial killer role very seriously giving us one of the more hateful movie characters that we’ve recently seen. While it is somewhat unbelievable that a scared, naked city girl might be able to get the best of a seasoned hunter, on his turf no less, the way the story progressed and the way the characters progressed during this hunt made this unlikely occurrence almost believable.

‘Naked Fear’, at least from my vantage point, was probably better than it has any right be. A movie that was gritty, violent, had plenty of nudity with very little of this nudity coming of as exploitative and also overcoming a slow shaky start to transform itself into a fairly effective little thriller. I’m not to sure about the conclusion… a little hokey perhaps, but still a very effective low budget thriller.

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