×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Never Talk to Strangers

"Never Talk to Strangers" is a reasonably entertaining but largely uninspired erotic thriller that's too much a chip off the "Fatal Attraction" block. The promise of high-impact bedroom aerobics will generate some interest, but the fully clothed drama isn't nearly as enthralling as the steamy scenes, so the pic isn't likely to maintain much B.O. ardor.

With:
Dr. Sarah Taylor - Rebecca De Mornay Toni Ramirez - Antonio Banderas Cliff Raddison - Dennis Miller Henry Taylor - Len Cariou Max Cheski - Harry Dean Stanton Grogan - Beau Starr Wabash - Tim Kelleher Dudakoff - Eugene Lipinski Spatz - Phillip Jarrett

“Never Talk to Strangers” is a reasonably entertaining but largely uninspired erotic thriller that’s too much a chip off the “Fatal Attraction”-“Sea of Love” block. The promise of high-impact bedroom aerobics featuring sexy stars Rebecca De Mornay and Antonio Banderas will generate some interest, but the fully clothed drama isn’t nearly as enthralling as the steamy scenes, so the pic isn’t likely to maintain much B.O. ardor for long.

There are two especially titillating scenes in “Never Talk to Strangers,” including one that makes innovative use of a steel cage, and TriStar has trimmed some footage — apparently mostly of a naked Banderas — from the second heavy-duty sex bout in order to garner R rating Stateside.

The uncut, more explicit version is the one Alliance is releasing in Canada and will be seen in most other international territories. Scene in question isn’t even that ribald and would be unlikely to raise eyebrows in the U.S. Running time is reportedly the same in both versions, as replacement footage was inserted in the U.S. cut.

Yarn rolls with cool criminal psychiatrist Dr. Sarah Taylor (De Mornay) interviewing angry accused serial killer Max Cheski (Harry Dean Stanton). In a development right out of “Sea of Love,” Taylor bumps into mysterious-but-attractive stranger Toni Ramirez (Banderas) in the supermarket wine aisle. Before you can say Cabernet Sauvignon, the shy, distrustful shrink is off tasting wine at the suitably spooky loft of the self-described “surveillance consultant.”

Already fairly paranoid — thanks to her explosive chats with Cheski — and wary of her enigmatic new lover, she feels her anxiety spill over during an almost violent argument with Ramirez.

She takes off after the blowup, but the confrontation also sparks some new desires within the ultra-controlled Taylor. She returns to his pad, slaps his face and initiates the hottest encounter of the pic. His bed is surrounded by a wire cagelike structure, which plays a central role in the sex play.

Then comes the dead-pet twist — the cadaver of Taylor’s cat is delivered to her apartment. It’s the final straw for the near-hysterical shrink, who hires a private investigator to tail Ramirez. Turns out that lover boy has lied about a trip to Boston, having flown instead to Taylor’s hometown of Albany, N.Y., to look up info on her, then to New York City to meet what looks to be his wife and child.

After Taylor’s upstairs neighbor Cliff (Dennis Miller) gets clobbered with a lead pipe in the alley behind their apartment building, the identity of the stalker is revealed in a surprise ending that will severely stretch the credulity of most viewers.

De Mornay gives an intense, affecting perf as the repressed psychiatrist, and De Mornay and Banderas provide further evidence that they’re not lacking in the bigscreen sex-appeal department. But Banderas has less to work with as Ramirez, a character saddled with far too many Latin-lover cliches. Stanton is perfect as the smart-but-demented serial killer and Miller, as always, is droll as the somewhat befuddled neighbor who has the hots for Taylor.

Peter Hall does an efficient job moving the story along and manages to temper the thriller plotting with some in-depth drama. But there is little here to evoke Hall’s acclaimed theater work, and lack of sparkle is due in part to a script by Lewis Green and Jordan Rush that’s simply not very original.

Production designers Linda Del Rosario and Richard Paris set an effective tone with Ramirez’s bizarre, enticing love nest of a loft, and Elemer Ragalyi’s mostly nocturnal lensing helps sustain that edgy mood.

Never Talk to Strangers

Production: A TriStar release of an Alliance Communications Corp. and Peter Hoffman presentation of an Alliance production. Produced by Andras Hamori, Jeffrey R. Neuman, Martin J. Wiley. Executive producer, Rebecca De Mornay. Co-producer, Jean Desormeaux, Ralph S. Dietrich. Directed by Peter Hall. Screenplay, Lewis Green, Jordan Rush.

Crew: Camera (Deluxe color), Elemer Ragalyi; editor, Roberto Silvi; music, Pino Donaggio; production design, Linda Del Rosario, Richard Paris; set decoration, Richard Paris; costume design, Terry Dresbach; sound (Dolby SR), Chaim Gilad; assistant director, Myron Hoffert; associate producers, Silvi, Tom Willey; casting, Jon Comerford. Reviewed at the Faubourg Cinema, Montreal, Oct. 20, 1995. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 86 MIN.

With: Dr. Sarah Taylor - Rebecca De Mornay Toni Ramirez - Antonio Banderas Cliff Raddison - Dennis Miller Henry Taylor - Len Cariou Max Cheski - Harry Dean Stanton Grogan - Beau Starr Wabash - Tim Kelleher Dudakoff - Eugene Lipinski Spatz - Phillip Jarrett

More Film

  • Nicolas Cage

    Film News Roundup: Nicolas Cage's 'Jiu Jitsu' Obtains Cyprus Support

    In today’s film news roundup, Cyprus is backing Nicolas Cage’s “Jiu Jitsu”; “The Nanny” and “Amityville 1974” are moving forward; “Milk” is returning to theaters; and Garrett Hedlund’s “Burden” is getting distribution. CYPRUS REBATE Nicolas Cage’s “Jiu Jitsu” has become the first international film to use Cyprus’ new tax credit-rebate program by filming entirely in [...]

  • Zhao Tao

    Zhao Tao Gets Candid in Kering's Shanghai Women in Motion Showcase Interview

    Zhao Tao is one of the most recognizable faces in Chinese art cinema thanks to her longtime collaboration with director Jia Zhangke, whom she married in 2012. From 2000’s “Platform” to last year’s “Ash is Purest White,” her work has plumbed the moral depths of modern China and brought stories of the country’s drastic change [...]

  • Skyline on the Huangpu River with

    Chinese-American Film Festival Seeks Particular Dialog

    With U.S.-China ties at an ever-sinking low, the Chinese-American Film and TV Festival on Tuesday pledged to improve communications between the two countries —  at a Chinese language-only press conference Tuesday that had few foreigners present. Most attendees who took to the stage to give congratulatory speeches that seemed more intent on heaping praise upon [...]

  • Murder Mystery

    Netflix Reveals Record-Breaking Stats for Sandler-Aniston 'Murder Mystery' Flick

    “Murder Mystery,” the latest Adam Sandler film to debut on Netflix, broke viewing records on the streaming service, the company revealed Tuesday. The film, which is co-headlined by Jennifer Aniston, was seen by close to 30.9 million households in its first 3 days, according to a tweet sent out Tuesday afternoon. 🚨ADAM SANDLER AND JENNIFER [...]

  • Agents Accuse Writers Guild of Refusing

    Writers Guild 'Plans to Respond' to Agents' Proposal as Frustration Mounts

    In a sign of increasing frustration, Hollywood agents have accused the Writers Guild of America of foot-dragging in the bitter two-month dispute. “It has become clear as more days pass that the Guild is not interested in making a deal,” said the negotiating committee for the agents in statement issued Tuesday. “Over the past year, [...]

  • Jermaine Fowler arrives at the 69th

    Jermaine Fowler to Co-Star With Eddie Murphy in 'Coming 2 America' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jermaine Fowler is set to play one of the leads opposite Eddie Murphy in Paramount’s sequel “Coming 2 America,” sources tell Variety. “Hustle & Flow” helmer Craig Brewer is on board to direct the pic with the studio planning an August 7, 2020 release. Plot details of “Coming 2 America” are unknown, as are the [...]

  • Henry Golding attends the Fragrance Foundation

    Henry Golding Starts Long House Shingle With 'Inheritance,' 'Harrington's Greatest Hits'

    “Crazy Rich Asians” star Henry Golding has started Long House Productions in partnership with China’s Starlight Cultural Entertainment Group with two features in the works. Golding’s first feature under the Long House banner is action adventure “The Inheritance,” based on an original story idea by Alistair Hudson and Golding. Hudson is writing the script for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content