Monday, June 8, 2009

Review - Dressed to Kill (1980)

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This is movie was a wonderful horror/thriller in the style of Hitchcockian storytelling and even, in some way, is a tribute to Hitchcock’s “Psycho.” That’s why I think that “Dressed to Kill” is one of De Palma’s best works of modern horror but why is it that this movie was so controversial and gained so much critical response?

This movie is a dark look into human sexuality, where few people are what they seem and the movie is driven by erotic visuals and sexual violence. It is because of these themes this movie was subject to much ridicule and criticism especially from Feminists. This is one of the first mainstream erotic thriller movies to have been such a blockbuster success and what’s interesting enough is how acclaimed it later was considering how risky it was for its time.

The acting in the movie was so-so but what made this movie so memorable was the technical aspect and the ‘interesting’ character development. From a cinematic standpoint, De Palma uses a wide variety of techniques that he used in his early work such as split screens, sound layering, voyeuristic and canted camera angles all of which are used to manipulate the audience. What we get in the end is a rollercoaster ride of emotions.

There are so many themes of sexuality, gender roles and stereotypes/profiling to fit into one review although what I can say, without hesitation, is that this movie is one of De Palma’s best work. 


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