Cat People Reviews

  • Apr 13, 2021

    Nothing about 'Cat People' resembles a horror film until nearly 45 minutes in, which is disappointing considering that this film has made multiple lists of the "best horror films of all time." It is not, not at all. Sure, 'Cat People' was probably something special in the 1940s but it is hardly memorable some 80 years later. My score takes into account that it WAS made so long ago, and so I was more generous than I would have been otherwise. It wasn't terrible, mind you, but something I would not recommend to a friend.

    Nothing about 'Cat People' resembles a horror film until nearly 45 minutes in, which is disappointing considering that this film has made multiple lists of the "best horror films of all time." It is not, not at all. Sure, 'Cat People' was probably something special in the 1940s but it is hardly memorable some 80 years later. My score takes into account that it WAS made so long ago, and so I was more generous than I would have been otherwise. It wasn't terrible, mind you, but something I would not recommend to a friend.

  • Mar 27, 2021

    Jacques Tourneur! Simone Simon! Val Lewton! Let the eye imagine what it can't see. This is simply wonderful and you never really know for sure. Simone Simon is absolutely captivating as the lost soul who may or not be cursed. And you've got to love the swimming pool scene. Only flaw? There isn't one.

    Jacques Tourneur! Simone Simon! Val Lewton! Let the eye imagine what it can't see. This is simply wonderful and you never really know for sure. Simone Simon is absolutely captivating as the lost soul who may or not be cursed. And you've got to love the swimming pool scene. Only flaw? There isn't one.

  • Mar 18, 2021

    Jacques Tourneur Classic

    Jacques Tourneur Classic

  • Jan 25, 2021

    There’s no denying that Cat People has a particular tone which goes a long way towards telling this story. From the beginning Simone Simon’s character is established as an intriguing, but potentially dangerous woman. By far the aspect of the film I enjoyed the most was how it teased in subtle ways and made you wonder what was coming. There is the chance of something magical, but just as much chance that it all might be inside the character’s head. On the flip side, the element of this movie that gave me the greatest pause was the romance. I’ve noticed this in other films from back in the day, but the road to a relationship seems surprisingly short. The courtship feels like it lasts about 30 seconds on screen, and already someone is confessing love. It undercuts some of the later elements for me, because I don’t feel like there ever was a strong romance to begin with, and therefore I struggle to see what is binding them together. I was also a bit surprised by how slow and repetitive the later scenes of Cat People felt considering it is such a short movie. Once the climax arrives it is certainly big and dramatic, but until that point I was getting impatient. I think there’s a decent story in Cat People, and I do commend it for nailing the tone perfectly, but it didn’t enthrall me as much as I would like.

    There’s no denying that Cat People has a particular tone which goes a long way towards telling this story. From the beginning Simone Simon’s character is established as an intriguing, but potentially dangerous woman. By far the aspect of the film I enjoyed the most was how it teased in subtle ways and made you wonder what was coming. There is the chance of something magical, but just as much chance that it all might be inside the character’s head. On the flip side, the element of this movie that gave me the greatest pause was the romance. I’ve noticed this in other films from back in the day, but the road to a relationship seems surprisingly short. The courtship feels like it lasts about 30 seconds on screen, and already someone is confessing love. It undercuts some of the later elements for me, because I don’t feel like there ever was a strong romance to begin with, and therefore I struggle to see what is binding them together. I was also a bit surprised by how slow and repetitive the later scenes of Cat People felt considering it is such a short movie. Once the climax arrives it is certainly big and dramatic, but until that point I was getting impatient. I think there’s a decent story in Cat People, and I do commend it for nailing the tone perfectly, but it didn’t enthrall me as much as I would like.

  • Dec 18, 2020

    Cat People is a strange film based on its critical reception - initially mixed, eventually lauded for its role in film history, and now rather forgotten once again, condemned to be viewed mostly by film historians and cult horror buffs. The film is, above all else, jagged. Tourneur and Bodeen introduced narrative elements to horror that had hardly been touched on previously, incorporates themes of sexual repression and a tight, distressing exploration of mental anguish suffered by Simon's Irena, and has some admittedly well-designed cinematography to individual scenes. But it's also rather poorly paced, the performances are not really good, especially Simon and her laboriously fake Eastern European accent (though it is a 1940s B-movie, so some leeway can be granted), and as a horror film it has not aged nearly as well as some of its more illustrious contemporaries within the same genre and period. While appreciating a film in the context of its time and influence is important, if it loses most of its watchability in the modern day it can only be rated so high. (3/5)

    Cat People is a strange film based on its critical reception - initially mixed, eventually lauded for its role in film history, and now rather forgotten once again, condemned to be viewed mostly by film historians and cult horror buffs. The film is, above all else, jagged. Tourneur and Bodeen introduced narrative elements to horror that had hardly been touched on previously, incorporates themes of sexual repression and a tight, distressing exploration of mental anguish suffered by Simon's Irena, and has some admittedly well-designed cinematography to individual scenes. But it's also rather poorly paced, the performances are not really good, especially Simon and her laboriously fake Eastern European accent (though it is a 1940s B-movie, so some leeway can be granted), and as a horror film it has not aged nearly as well as some of its more illustrious contemporaries within the same genre and period. While appreciating a film in the context of its time and influence is important, if it loses most of its watchability in the modern day it can only be rated so high. (3/5)

  • Oct 04, 2020

    *Spoiler Warning* Being my first of Tourneur's horror films (Out of the Past, which is a masterpiece, is the only other film I've seen from him), I found this to be a good introduction into one of the main genres he specialized in. The horror elements of the film (curses and shape-shifting), though they made for a handful of effective horror sequences, ultimately weren't what caught my interest the most. I found myself drawn mostly to the tragedy at the heart of the story and how the horror elements shaped the various characters in the film. Irena's curse took its toll on both her and Oliver, particularly. The former grew more confident with her curse, while the latter slowly lost his patience while waiting for her to get over her fear of her curse. This made it so they were both harmful towards each other, yet didn't realize this until it was too late. This theme of harmful relationships also applied to Dr. Judd, Irena's psychiatrist, whose refusal to take her seriously served to escalate the problem and lead to Irena being more reckless. Alice, who was caught up in the middle of this conflict, was who Irena directed most of her rage towards. On the other hand though, I was a bit put off by the shapelessness of Irena's arc as she seemed much too gentle in many of her early scenes for me to buy her murder attempts of Alice and Oliver, which, though shot really well, were the only issues I had with the film. Regardless of this, however, I really loved this film due to the various character dynamics and I'm looking forward to watching more of Tourneur's horror films in the future.

    *Spoiler Warning* Being my first of Tourneur's horror films (Out of the Past, which is a masterpiece, is the only other film I've seen from him), I found this to be a good introduction into one of the main genres he specialized in. The horror elements of the film (curses and shape-shifting), though they made for a handful of effective horror sequences, ultimately weren't what caught my interest the most. I found myself drawn mostly to the tragedy at the heart of the story and how the horror elements shaped the various characters in the film. Irena's curse took its toll on both her and Oliver, particularly. The former grew more confident with her curse, while the latter slowly lost his patience while waiting for her to get over her fear of her curse. This made it so they were both harmful towards each other, yet didn't realize this until it was too late. This theme of harmful relationships also applied to Dr. Judd, Irena's psychiatrist, whose refusal to take her seriously served to escalate the problem and lead to Irena being more reckless. Alice, who was caught up in the middle of this conflict, was who Irena directed most of her rage towards. On the other hand though, I was a bit put off by the shapelessness of Irena's arc as she seemed much too gentle in many of her early scenes for me to buy her murder attempts of Alice and Oliver, which, though shot really well, were the only issues I had with the film. Regardless of this, however, I really loved this film due to the various character dynamics and I'm looking forward to watching more of Tourneur's horror films in the future.

  • Aug 08, 2020

    Tourneur's rather overrated mood piece is less a horror movie than a very short (just over an hour) exercise in suggestion. Everything is oblique and/or in shadow. The noir photography is marvellous, mirroring the strange storyline with its exotic sexual subtext. Paul Schrader's 1982 version takes the same themes and explores them far more successfully. Indeed Robert Wise's unconnected Curse of the Cat People (marketed as a sequel, which it isn't) is a far more interesting movie than this one, but this is still worth seeing, if only for the look.

    Tourneur's rather overrated mood piece is less a horror movie than a very short (just over an hour) exercise in suggestion. Everything is oblique and/or in shadow. The noir photography is marvellous, mirroring the strange storyline with its exotic sexual subtext. Paul Schrader's 1982 version takes the same themes and explores them far more successfully. Indeed Robert Wise's unconnected Curse of the Cat People (marketed as a sequel, which it isn't) is a far more interesting movie than this one, but this is still worth seeing, if only for the look.

  • Jul 25, 2020

    How I like my horror - more in the mind than in the flesh, moody, dark, suggestive, stylish. The cat-stalking sections are superb.

    How I like my horror - more in the mind than in the flesh, moody, dark, suggestive, stylish. The cat-stalking sections are superb.

  • Jan 08, 2020

    I love moralistic tales and this one delivered. I think the acting was spectacular. Simone Simon is beautiful and perfectly resonates with the ideas in this movie. I love how the character had premonitions and fears about herself. The story kept my attention. I was locked in. I absolutely love the images in this movie. The suspense was different than any other movie. It was almost a poetic suspense. You were afraid for the character, but not in a way that was expecting gore, or a monster to jump in front of you. You were worried about the poor ladies, for me, I was as much worried for the cat as I was for the woman in the pool. They made a sequel to this movie that I loved as well. It's not as good as the original. It's a lot different. But it ties in very well. Val Lewton was awesome. He's an artistic hero. So smart and organized and sincere. What a gift to the world. Who says that about producers?

    I love moralistic tales and this one delivered. I think the acting was spectacular. Simone Simon is beautiful and perfectly resonates with the ideas in this movie. I love how the character had premonitions and fears about herself. The story kept my attention. I was locked in. I absolutely love the images in this movie. The suspense was different than any other movie. It was almost a poetic suspense. You were afraid for the character, but not in a way that was expecting gore, or a monster to jump in front of you. You were worried about the poor ladies, for me, I was as much worried for the cat as I was for the woman in the pool. They made a sequel to this movie that I loved as well. It's not as good as the original. It's a lot different. But it ties in very well. Val Lewton was awesome. He's an artistic hero. So smart and organized and sincere. What a gift to the world. Who says that about producers?

  • Oct 07, 2019

    An excellent example of "less is more." where each horror element is left to the audience's imagination. With each shot, lighting technique, and/or sound cue puts the viewer on edge as we are left wondering if what we are seeing is real, or just illusions of our mind

    An excellent example of "less is more." where each horror element is left to the audience's imagination. With each shot, lighting technique, and/or sound cue puts the viewer on edge as we are left wondering if what we are seeing is real, or just illusions of our mind