Never Talk to Strangers (1995)


USA/Canada. 1995.


Director – Peter Hall, Screenplay – Lewis Green & Jordan Rush, Producers – Andras Hamori, Jeffrey R. Neuman & Martin J. Wiley, Photography – Elemer Ragalyi, Music – Pino Donaggio, Visual Effects Supervisor – Jon Campfen, Special Effects Supervisor – Frank Carere, Prosthetic Effects – KNB EFX (Supervisor – Greg Nicotero), Production Design – Linda Del Rosario & Richard Paris. Production Company – Alliance/Never Talk to Strangers Productions


Rebecca De Mornay (Dr Susan Taylor), Antonio Banderas (Tony Ramirez), Dennis Miller (Cliff Raddison), Harry Dean Stanton (Max Cheski), Len Cariou (Henry Taylor), Eugene Lipinski (Dudikoff)


Psychologist Susan Taylor is profiling apprehended serial killer Max Cheski who appears to be exhibiting the symptoms of multiple personality disorder. She meets handsome Puerto Rican surveillance expert Tony Ramirez in a supermarket. She eventually succumbs to his persistent charms and the two have heated sex. Someone then starts harassing her – delivering her dead flowers, printing her obituary in the paper and sending her slaughtered cat to her as a present. She suspects it might be Tony and hires a private investigator who later reveals that he is not who he claims. At the same time, it becomes apparent that the stalker is in some way connected to secrets in Susan’s past.

It is a mystery what Rebecca De Mornay saw in this lacklustre copy of Basic Instinct (1992) that it inspired her to take an Executive Producer credit. In all regards, Never Talk to Strangers is a predictably written and directed film and one that generates no suspense at all. It tries to parade some very upfront erotic scenes – but these only raise the temperature mildly and mostly seem tedious. What almost does lift it is quite an effective twist ending revelation about the identity of the stalker but this ultimately is not enough.

Rebecca De Mornay is okay and Harry Dean Stanton very good as a serial killer (giving the scenes with De Mornay a charge that director Peter Hall fails to). Alas, Antonio Banderas isn’t. Unless Banderas has a director capable of channelling the raw sexuality he is capable of projecting, as Robert Rodriguez did in Desperado (1995), he comes across as just petulantly boyish, as he does here.

Full film available online here:-

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