RAW NERVE commences with a sequence that could have been terrific: identical-twin teenaged girls stalked by a killer in a carnival hall of mirrors. But David A. Prior's flat, uninspired direction finds little visual interest in the situation, and the girls are summarily gunned down.
They are the latest victims of a maniac who targets pretty women and blasts them in the face. Local resident Jimmy Clayton (Ted Prior) has had nightmares of the murderer in action, and, although he can't identify the culprit in his visions, he volunteers to help the police. Grouchy investigating
officer Bruce Ellis (Jan-Michael Vincent) dismisses Jimmy as a crank, but the cop's ex-wife Gloria Freeman (Sandahl Bergman), a reporter, believes Jimmy is sincere. When Jimmy's descriptions of the crimes run in the newspaper, Lt. Ellis changes his opinion--and locks Jimmy up as the prime suspect.
Gloria has fallen in love with the troubled witness and sets out to prove Jimmy's innocence. She encounters Blake Garrett (Randall "Tex" Cobb), Jimmy's brutish biker pal, hanging menacingly around Jimmy's sexy kid sister Gina (Traci Lords). When Blake drags Gina to the airport for a quick getaway
the police move in, and the fugitive Blake refuses to be taken alive.
So Jimmy is freed, and in the final sequence Gloria visits him for a heavy date, only to find out that schizo Jimmy is the real murderer after all--Blake took the rap for him--and the journalist is next on his hit list. Suddenly Lt. Ellis barges in and blows Jimmy away. "How did you know?" Gloria
gasps. "Just a hunch," replies her surly saviour; more accurately, just a case of lack of imagination on the part of the filmmakers, a problem that dogs this mystery-thriller throughout.
The casting director showed the greatest creativity here, with veteran Glenn Ford joining the celebrity ensemble as Lt. Ellis's even grumpier department superior, Captain Gavin. Top acting honors, such as they are, go to lissome Sandahl Bergman (CONAN THE BARBARIAN), who manages to seem natural
and straightforward even when dashing off in a sheer nightgown to cover the police beat. The role of the tormented psycho is a slight stretch for Ted Prior, usually seen bristling with Uzis in action cheapies from the same Mobile, Alabama-based production company. But the night sweats and
psychological gobbledygook (Jimmy was molested as a child) don't substitute for solid characterization.
If the comparatively mild gore in RAW NERVE is a relief, the much milder suspense makes it a thoroughgoing letdown. (Violence, substance abuse, profanity, sexual situations, adult situations.)
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- Released: 1991
- Rating: R
- Review: RAW NERVE commences with a sequence that could have been terrific: identical-twin teenaged girls stalked by a killer in a carnival hall of mirrors. But David A. Prior's flat, uninspired direction finds little visual interest in the situation, and the girls… (more)