The Naked Prey
Film: The Naked Prey
Director: Cornel Wilde
Writer: Clint Johnston and Don Peters
Starring: Cornel Wilde, Gert Van den Bergh and Ken Gampu
In this film we have a group of white men on a safari. Cornel Wilde is their guide, while Gert Van den Bergh is the one who is funding the safari. Accompanying them are Africans who are going to help Bergh hunt elephants for ivory. On their way to where they are, the group is stopped by a tribe of warriors lead by Ken Gampu. Wilde explains that they want tribute and suggests giving gifts. Bergh denies that and offends Gampu.
They go about their hunt. They kill an elephant, but while they’re celebrating, the warriors attack, taking the whole group hostage. The group is killed in different and horrific ways by the tribe, except for Wilde. The leader of the tribe gives him a chance, but they strip him down naked, shoot an arrow to signify where his head-start ends and he will be hunted by the warriors.
Early on he kills a warrior and takes the weapons he had, but he must outsmart and fight off the rest of them, while also trying to find food, water and avoiding being killed by the wildlife around him. Being out in the middle of nowhere in Africa also is a daunting task as well.
This film is truly a rare gem. I had never heard of it until my dad got it and I’m glad I took the time to watch it. There is very little dialogue and much of it is in an African dialect, but that didn’t take anything from the film. The story isn’t complex and there isn’t much of a twist or anything to that nature, but for a minimalist film it is great. That is partly the reason this review has been so short. Many of things that happen, I didn’t want to state, not that this would ruin the film. What is better is seeing Wilde survive in this scary situation.
Wilde does a great acting job as well as directing the film. He does great at showing the fear of the warriors as well as the fear of the unforgiving sun that is constantly beating down on him. The suspense that builds is well done.
There are a few scenes that look like stock footage of African wildlife and I could have done without seeing them, but it doesn’t take away from the film in my opinion. The ending to me seems like a little bit of a cop out, but not to the point of ruining the film.
I am adding this film to the horror research due to what is happening in it. It is not horror per say, but being hunted to me is something that is terrifying. This man has no resources to start out and really has to gain the upper hand by outsmarting those that are after him. For that reason, the situation is horror to me.
I would recommend giving this a view. As I’ve said, don’t expect a great story or anything of that nature, but the suspense and overwhelming dread is great. The acting is pretty solid, as Wilde does well and the natives are definitely natural. Seeing how this man survives during this situation is interesting and horrifying. This film is from 1966, so keep that in mind, but I think it is worth a viewing.
My Rating: 8 out of 10