Never Talk to Strangers has a basis for a good storyline, two good actors, and a sexy theme, but in the end, fails to accomplish. Rebecca de Mornay is the starring character, a police psychiatrist who ends up having a violently sexual affair with a stranger (Antonio Banderas). As their relationship slides and skids, she begins to suspect that her new boyfriend is the one that is terrorizing her.
The movie starts out good, and has some worthy sex scenes that will fit in nicely with Basic Instinct and The Specialist. However, that is the high point. I must admit, I enjoyed this movie up until the last half hour, but the ending pretty much destroyed it. Throughout the entire movie, there are not many suspenseful scenes, and not really any sense of escalating and impending doom.
But definitely, the last half hour decided the fate of Never Talk to Strangers. In one scene, the director blunders and shows the bad guy (dressed in black to conceal his identity) sneak out of de Mornay's apartment and brutally attack one of the other characters - who is also one of the suspects. In fact, he was the prime suspect, because by this point, there is no definite leaning that Antonio Banderas is the bad guy. Not only does this scene show the figure of the character, but it also takes the prime suspect out of the mystery.
And then there is the climax itself. The ending could have been a really good twist, right up there with Fight Club, but, unfortunately, by about halfway through, the identity of the killer becomes obvious. It is not completely thrown in the audience's face and is not definite, but since all clues suggest it, it is quite obvious. Unfortunately, this twist is also cheesy (I don't think there is any good way around it) and the conclusion sucks.
Never Talk to Strangers has potential, but fails miserably. There are plenty of other films similar to this that are actually good the entire way through.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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