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Cat People (1982)


Average Rating: 6.1/10
Reviews Counted: 41
Fresh: 26
Rotten: 15

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Counted: 4
Fresh: 3
Rotten: 1


Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 10,107



Movie Info

In this loose adaptation of the 1942 horror classic of the same name, a 2001-style opening montage establishes some sort of sacrificial, mystical union between panthers and an ancient tribe of humans. Flash forward to 1980's New Orleans, where waifish Irina (Natassja Kinski) meets her older brother, Paul (Malcolm McDowell), a minister, for the first time since their animal trainer parents died and she was sent to a series of foster homes. Paul's Creole housekeeper, Female (Ruby Dee), helps Irina … More

Drama , Horror , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Oct 10, 2000
Universal Pictures


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Critic Reviews for Cat People

All Critics (41) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (26) | Rotten (15) | DVD (25)

Paul Schrader's hammering, art-porno remake of Jacques Tourneur's deft little thriller.

Full Review… | September 26, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Kinski was essential to the film as conceived, and she's endlessly watchable.

Full Review… | September 26, 2007
Top Critic

The seductively exotic surface of this mythically underpinned fantasy might be offset for some by much graphic gore, but if you can buy the romantic metaphors for the primitivisms of sexual obsession, the film delivers down the line.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Cat People is a good movie in an old tradition, a fantasy-horror film that takes itself just seriously enough to work, has just enough fun to be entertaining, [and] contains elements of intrinsic fascination in its magnificent black leopards.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

An appropriately strange beast-part moody, sex-saturated art film, and part slick genre fare.

Full Review… | February 3, 2014
The Dissolve

Barely a notch above "The Howling" movie series

Full Review… | January 23, 2014
Cinema Crazed

[Blu-ray Review] A curious but always intriguing blend of erotic love story and animalistic, gore-drenched terror tale.

Full Review… | January 8, 2014

A twisted, sexy horror classic.

Full Review… | January 6, 2014
Aisle Seat art-house experiment gone horribly wrong.

Full Review… | October 28, 2011
Reel Film Reviews

Paul Schrader's redo has its own share of chills.

February 21, 2008

In 1982, Paul Schrader seemed a very odd choice to remake Val Lewton's classic 1943 horror movie. The original was a model of restraint and subtlety and the remake, frankly, isn't.

Full Review… | September 26, 2007
Empire Magazine

Schrader's rather misogynistic film is confused in its intentions.

Full Review… | September 26, 2007

Ludicrous or not, Cat People is gorgeous to behold, due mostly to cinematographer John Bailey's marvelous detailed rendering of New Orleans in autumn.

Full Review… | September 26, 2007
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Sexy, scary and super cool.

November 10, 2006


Full Review… | May 26, 2006
Combustible Celluloid

Kitten's got claws!

Full Review… | May 24, 2005

Schrader's most underrated film is a supremely stylish, sensual nightmare

October 7, 2004
Kalamazoo Gazette

Cat People is a most unusual love story.

Full Review… | February 4, 2004
Spirituality and Practice

The emotional arousal of the original is replaced with sexual arousal and what we have is an erotic gorefest that should not have been made.

Full Review… | October 26, 2002
Apollo Guide

Lumbering but titillating.

Full Review… | September 3, 2002
Film Freak Central

Audience Reviews for Cat People

Most of Paul Schrader's films have contained elements of psychological terror before but he has only attempted unadulterated horror B-movies twice in his career (this being the first example and the second being the highbrow but interminable 'Exorcist prequel 'Dominion'). In regards to 'Cat People', he has crafted a sizzling, off-kilter piece of art-house erotica that is hardly frightening but it is always engrossing. If Zalman King was cross-pollinated with a dusky music video, it would resemble 'Cat People' in many ways. The art direction during the desert prelude and Kinski's psychedelic, full-frontal trek through the woods is absolutely impeccable. The moodiness is so pervasive that matter-of-fact ineptitude, like ungainly scenes of Kinski scaling trees, can be forgiven. The fact that Oliver, the zoologist introduces Irena to the art of devouring oysters (a well-known aphrodisiac) hints at the carnal subtext of the film. As the tight-lipped and cripplingly shy Irena, Kinski is both titillating and primal. We actually feel sorrowful that she cannot experience love without dire consequences to her mate. Truthfully 'Cat People' is somewhat uneven with sedate character-building scenes interrupted by gore-strewn excess (a panther autopsy and an arm dislocation), but it is ultimately a gorgeously photographed, underrated remake of the 1942 classic.

Cory Taylor
Cory Taylor

Super Reviewer

This one must have been with TV viewer in mind. Bring Back The Black & White films, cause this one sucked, 2 stars 2-7-13

Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer


There's a fine line between sensual and tawdry and this erotic thriller does cross that edge a couple times. That may be two times too many for some viewers. Yet there's an unadulterated visual flair to the production that is genuinely entertaining. The mood is pretty sumptuous. Let's face it, this feature is entirely mood. It certainly isn't about the story which is kind of ridiculous when you seriously ponder it. That's part of what made the original so much fun. Much of that allure can be found here too. The drama creates a haunting ambience with its odd mix of romance and horror. If you can warm up to its languid rhythms, Cat People will entertain you. At the very least Giorgio Moroder's hypnotic score will makes sure of that.

Mark Hobin

Super Reviewer


Schrader delivers a sexually charged yet lanquid piece about a young woman who reconnects with her long lost brother only to discover an interesting and ancient family secret. Modern day animal animus fantasy done as creative soft porn with Bowie's "Putting Out The Fire With Gasoline" as the soundtrack.

Apeneck Fletcher

Super Reviewer

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