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Influential noir director Jacques Tourneau infused this sexy, moody horror film with some sly commentary about the psychology and the taboos of desire. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Irena Dubrovna (Simone Simon), a New York City--based fashion designer who hails from Serbia, begins a romance with marine engineer Oliver Reed (Kent Smith). After the couple gets married, Oliver becomes concerned about Irena's notion that she is cursed and may transform into a large cat in the heat of passion. Confiding in his beautiful assistant, Alice Moore (Jane Randolph), about his marital issues, Oliver unwittingly triggers Irena's curse, with tragic results.

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Critic Reviews for Cat People

All Critics (66) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (60) | Rotten (6)

  • A weird little chiller called Cat People... is calculated to frighten you out of your wits and make you think twice before trusting anyone who arouses a feline's instinctive dislike.

    December 30, 2020 | Full Review…
  • Simone makes her way through his combination of phantasy and reality, and comes off creditably in a part that calls for emotional repression.

    December 30, 2020 | Full Review…
  • Photography and settings are effective, and the naturalness of the dialog issuing from such a murk of the fantastic is very impressive.

    December 30, 2020 | Full Review…
  • This RKO production is a great example of Hollywood's waste of precious lime and valuable material.

    December 30, 2020 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
  • Cat People, per all advance heraldings, is supposed to be some punkins as a thriller. But for my money, whatever that may amount to, it isn't a breeze let alone a shiver.

    December 30, 2020 | Full Review…
  • I do like a film that opens with a mission statement, and... Cat People starts thus: "Even as fog continues to lie in the valleys, so does ancient sin cling to the low places, the depressions in the world consciousness."

    October 3, 2016 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Cat People

  • May 14, 2018
    I guess this must have been scary when it was released in 1942, but today it is definitely not scary at all and only seems terribly pretentious, trying to look more profound than it is and getting dull real fast with endless exposition and a lame protagonist played by an awful actress.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 04, 2017
    Despite the silly title, this is a solid and economic thriller. Also, the movie is barely coy about it's sexual themes which no doubt contributed to it's surprisingly popularity.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 21, 2017
    'Cat People' is a great concept for a horror movie, even if it does seem like a knock-off (and mirror) of the Wolfman genre. It also has a couple of very nice moments of suspense when the Cat Woman stalks her husband's girlfriend, one in which a bus abruptly pulls up (thenceforth known as a 'Lewton Bus') and another in a dark, creepy pool. It is unfortunate, however, that some of the tension is missing in the first half of the film because we clearly know what's going on with this young woman, and why she won't get intimate with her husband. The film also lacks the slinky sexiness you'd expect from a woman who turns into a black panther when sexually aroused or angered, some of which can be attributed to the production code at the time, and some of which are due to director Jacques Tourneur and his leading lady Simone Simon. It is understated for sure, and it's admirable that it relies on suggestion rather than showing us graphic violence. With the exception of those fantastic stalking scenes, though, it's almost too minimalistic. I can forgive it for being bare bones and for being short at 73 minutes, but have to knock it down a bit for the lack of passion in all of its main characters. Certainly worth watching though.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 04, 2015
    Likeable psychological horror let down by pacing issues.
    Marcus W Super Reviewer

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