Reviewed by Scott A. Johnson
Starring Angela Tropea, Anna Elisabeth Taylor, George Russell, Taylor Gunn, Bill Johnson, Sandy Kellerman, Lloyd Kaufman, Debbie Golden
Written by Carlo Rodriguez and Angela Tropea
Directed by Carlo Rodriguez
It’s no secret that we here at Dread Central have a soft spot for indie horror. Many of us also have a weakness for pretty women. Combine the two, and one would think we’d have the ultimate movie experience. He would be wrong, though, in the case of Naked Horror, a movie that seems to exist only to get its leading females nude as much as possible. It comes in both the “Celebrity Edition” and the odd “Art House Edition.” For the purposes of this review, we’ll cover both and let you decide.
The story in both versions is the same. The (incredibly) beautiful Priya (Tropea) attends an estate sale, where she gets what appears to be a haunted DVD. Once gained, she begins having increasingly bizarre and violent nightmares, in all of which she is completely naked. The DVD (Long Pig, also by Carlo Rodriguez) seems to contain a similarly naked ghost, played by Anna Elisabeth Taylor. While she tries to avoid her nightmares, she reaches out to the world of the Internet to try to find answers.
While both editions contain the same idea and plot, they are very different movies. The “Art House Edition” contains little in the way of dialogue, which gives the whole movie a very strange feel. In fact, it isn’t until the movie is around two thirds done that anyone speaks. This, along with disjointed images and pointing ghosts, makes the audience wonder if they missed something in the opening credits. The “Celebrity Edition” is a bit more cohesive, mainly because of the narrative skills of Bill Johnson. While it is obvious that the celebrities were dropped in after the fact, their presence actually does add a good deal of watchability to the movie.
What the film does right is mainly the work of Tropea and Taylor, both of whom take some interesting risks and are not afraid to do awkward things while naked. There is some very nicely done camera work, and a few of the surrealistic nightmare scenes are truly WTF-worthy. However, there are quite a few things that keep this film from being taken seriously. For example, lingering camera shots on the actresses’ crotches do nothing to move the story forward. Also, it seems as if the director just got his hands on “After Effects” and was determined to use as much of it as possible. The whole “airbrushed glowing eyes” gag did nothing but evoke sympathetic giggles, whereas it was meant to bring the fright level up. In addition (and this may be a pet peeve of mine), when a naked ghost is running about, having only her face made up is a bit ridiculous. People don’t rot from just their faces. They rot all over. It’s like having a werewolf with hair only on his face.
I wouldn’t call this movie a classic, but I will say that the effort put into it is obvious. The level of commitment of the actors and crew is apparent and gives this quirky film a bit of heart.
3 out of 5
Art House Edition
2 out of 5
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