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Hidden View

A well-acted erotic thriller, NIGHT EYES almost succeeds but gives away the game too early, making it fairly easy to tell who's setting up whom. Andrew Stevens, the hardest-working man in direct-to-video show business, helped write the script and portrays Will Griffith, the co-owner of a Los Angeles security agency. Griffith is hired to monitor the house of glamorous Nikki Walker (Tanya Roberts), who is going through a messy divorce with her rock star husband, Brian (Warwick Sims). After rigging up security cameras and high-tech alarms, Griffith learns that his job isn't to protect Nikki but rather to videotape the beautiful woman with her lovers. Brian and his lawyer plan to use the footage in divorce court to obtain a favorable settlement. Griffith takes a liking to the vulnerable beauty, however, and when the security cameras catch her having kinky sex with an actor friend, Griffith conceals the tape. Griffith's attraction to Nikki grows, and, sensing this, the jealous Brian clashes with the pair in public. Later, an intruder resembling Brian attacks Nikki in the house. Griffith chases off the intruder, and the security guard's attempts to comfort Nikki result in their making love. Nikki entices Griffith into joining her for regular sessions of sado-masochistic sex, until one night a frantic Brian breaks in brandishing a gun. Griffith shoots him, but the subsequent murder investigation reveals that Brian had been summoned to the house by a phone caller who claimed that Nikki was in danger. What's more, not only is Nikki reluctant to defend Griffith, but also the rough bedroom antics between her and Griffith were recorded by the security cameras; on the tape Griffith appears to be raping her. At this point, it's clear to Griffith and the viewer that he's been framed, but the story plods along until Nikki's accomplice is unmasked. Within its limited horizons, NIGHT EYES does an admirable job of conjuring a moody, devious atmosphere (far superior to director Jag Mundhra's earlier effort, the slasher film OPEN HOUSE). Stevens manages to come across as likable and intelligent, even as he's obviously being played for a chump. Roberts is alluring as the object of his desires, although her character proves to be disappointingly shallow once her scheme is revealed (she's a snob, basically). The love scenes are especially intense (if there are children in the room, warn them that the technique with the molten wax poses a fire hazard). In fact, the film was released on video in both an R-rated version and a steamier unrated version. Anyone who needs to be warned of approaching sex scenes should simply listen for the rather overdone saxophone solos that precede the heavy-breathing stuff with monotonous regularity. (Violence, profanity, nudity, sexual situations, adult situations.)