AKA: Nude Night
Director: Lorenzo Lepori
Writers: Lorenzo Lepori, Antonio Tentori
Starring: Pascal Persiano, Henrj Bartolini, Yana Proshkina, Concetta Pagliarella, Simona Vannelli, Antonio Tentori
Things spiral out of control for old friends Paolo and Andrea when they find themselves in the woods and in possession of a girls body. But are they alone?
Benefitting from an uneasy atmosphere, the very start of NOTTE NUDA places the viewer on edge as it successfully builds tension. This feeling is formed from a fairly mundane and straight forward sequence in which a man slopes off from his marital bed, leaving his buxom wife, to go collect firewood from the nearby forest.
However the audio-visual choices chosen by director Lorenzo Lepori tell us that something is not quite right and when a heavily decomposed body is discovered by our male actor things begin to take horrific shape.
Hinting at erotic horror, think in the vein of Jess Franco, but delivering perhaps more in the way of a creature feature, the strong opening eight minutes of NOTTE NUDA encompass multiple influences that tease us with which direction things will go but also leave us wondering how they will be blended together.
Due to this it is perhaps more curious as to why NOTTE NUDA then decides to take an unexpected turn by seemingly moving away from what has been established and becoming almost a dark drama of sorts with the introduction of lead character Paolo (Pascal Persiano – DEMONS 2; PAGANINI HORROR; THE SWEET HOUSE OF HORROS; VOICES FROM BEYOND; CATACOMBA), a man missing his wife and in the midst of a downward spiral.
Alone, run-down and presumably lonely it is hardly a shock that when Paolo heads out of town to meet up with his old friend Andrea (Henrj Bartolini – CATACOMBA) and his latest girlfriend Milena that it takes just one night of booze and drugs before all three of them end up in bed together.
Through these sequences NOTTE NUDA instills both character background and wider context but due to the length of time spent on this and the subsequent partying scenes the momentum does seem to drop and the film loses its focus somewhat. But thankfully with the (direct) introduction of a few more of the bar patrons the story is driven forwards giving us action, drama and what I would term dark humour before returning to horror territory which concludes a neatly worked if light story.
NOTTE NUDA is a commendable effort but one that ultimately attempts to fit in too much which proves more frustrating for the viewer hoping for more exploration of scenes as opposed to anything poorly executed. That said I did like how the main tale of Pascal was concluded but I believe that Lepori and Tentori should have found the film in the development of the aftermath of Paolo and Andrea’s night out. To me, this is the films real strength due to the strong performances and chemistry between Persiano and Bartolini. Of special note is the lead actor Pascal Persiano who shows his experience at playing this type of character several times before.
Through its mixture of cheese, nudity and violence NOTTE NUDA will have moments that appeal to fans of 80s Italian horror, European erotic horror as well as Italian fumetti and will do enough to appease fans of all three, even if areas such as the Franco-esque eroticism appear if ever so slightly underplayed.
I say this last bit simply because although it technically fulfils its purpose in relation to the story as is presented in the final film, some of the shots used I found quite captivating and I wished that there was an alternative film that focused on this. The irony is that had this been a segment in something like Lepori’s previous release, the anthology CATACOMBA, that the restrictions and compromise forced on the director through shorter time limits would probably have seen this avenue separated and pursued a little more.
On a final note, the two feature length releases of Lorenzo Lepori are peppered with genuine talent and if the writer/director can continue along this path I can see a modern cult classic coming in the not too distant future.
NOTTE NUDA will be released this December on DVD. Check the usual places and follow the film on Facebook.