This steamy erotic thriller represent Brian De Palma's lurid homage to Hitchcock's Psycho...and it's quite a film!
Psychologist Dr. Robert Elliott finds his world totally flipped upside down when a patient of his, a sexually frustrated housewife named Kate Miller, is brutally slaughtered by another one of his patients- an unhinged transgender individual named Bobbi. On top of that, a witness to the murder- a young prostitute named Liz has become Bobbi's next target.
Liz isn't helpless though, as she finds comfort in the arms of Kate's revenge-driven teenage son Peter who is bound and determined to bring Bobbi to justice.
While the film references/homages plenty of movies (many of them Hitchcock's), Psycho is the main one. What I love about all this is how this puts its own spin on things, and creates a great work of art that functions as both homage and a stand alone thriller.
The film's content and subject matter really drew a lot of criticism from the LGBT and feminist communities, but, regardless of where one stands on the issue, it is undeniable that this film succeeds in being provocative.
It is also one of De Palma's best, featuring some outstanding cinematography/camera work, and some great music from frequent collaborator Pino Donaggio. There's a wonderful sense of mood, tone, atmosphere, and dread, and it amazed me just how riveting and suspense this gets sometimes.
Michael Caine is good as Elliott, Nancy Allen is strong as Liz, and Angie Dickinson is quite something as Kate. I also enjoyed seeing Dennis Franz as a slimy detective.
The effects are terrific, and the film really delivers the goods when it comes to sex and violence. But thankfully the film is also actually about something, and not just a visceral thrill ride. There are some great sequences here, but my favorite has to be the museum sequence. It's stunning.
Definitely give this one a watch, because it's great.