Pretty Poison - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Pretty Poison Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ January 24, 2016
Perkins doesn't stretch himself, the film belongs to Weld and she does a terrific job.
January 4, 2016
Weird dude Anthony Perkins is recently paroled from serving time in association with a suspicious death, so what does he do? Hooks up with Tuesday Weld's equally strange teenaged character, who takes all the ridiculous tall tales he spins about being a secret agent as true, and she starts to plan his involvement in a suspicious death of her own devising.

Oddball stuff, worth a rental if you like the leads.
½ December 27, 2015
This film seems to exist only as a reaction to other films. Hitchcock's Psycho is most prominent as Tony Perkins's young arsonist could easily be a reimagined Norman Bates released from an institution and a little shaky on the outside. Meeting young Tuesday Weld allows him to engage fantasies of being a CIA agent and fighting industrial pollution (!!!) but she turns out to be even more sociopathic than him. Thus we also receive echoes of the previous year's Bonnie and Clyde. However, the tone of Pretty Poison is strange - the music cues soft and sentimental feelings even as the young pair get deeper into trouble (including murder). So, the film can't quite decide if it feels sorry for an increasingly anxious Perkins or wants to take the sex and violence exploitation route with Weld. Unfortunately, it winds up somewhere in between and loses some momentum as a result.
June 11, 2015
Not without its problems, but an intriguing late 60s black comedy. I think it would have been more interesting if it didn't cast Anthony Perkins (too easily cashing in on his role from Psycho).
½ March 30, 2015
An underrated and often overlooked thriller. Great performances by Anthony Perkins (although this, along with "Psycho," typecast him as psycho/sociopaths for the rest of his career) and sexpot Tuesday Weld as a seemingly sweet and innocent femme fatale. Highly recommended.
½ September 26, 2014
Noel Black's odd, creepy thriller came out of nowhere in 1968 and almost dropped out of sight shortly thereafter, though it's built a small but solidly deserved cult reputation in the years since. Like any good study in couple's psychopathology, a familiar relationship is visible here, but in a parodic, mutated form.
April 1, 2014
Alonso Duralde just made note of this on the Linoleum Knife podcast and it brought back just how much I loved this film.
½ November 24, 2013
Unnerving crime drama with psychological overtones--A boy chases a girl until she catches him!!
Super Reviewer
March 8, 2013
A great psychological thriller with tables turning and no one quite knowing who has the advantage over whom. Great use of a post Psycho Anthony Perkins to play...a psycho.
½ February 6, 2013
This was a slow film to get into but don't underestimate its power once you're hooked in. Incomparable to any film dealing with a similar plot nowadays this film stands apart for me because of the look and feel of it. Made in '68 it has that underground/independent/Indie vibe to it and I loved it. It wont be for everyone, not everyone will like the subtle storylines that weave their way through the main plot and then when its over and your brain ticks over all the minute details you may find yourself wanting to watch it again to see what you may have missed the first time. I don't want to build it up as a masterpiece because it is far from it, but it was a refreshing movie experience. Tuesday Weld is sublime in her role and Perkins, as in Psycho, was born to play the deranged villain, and the twist at the end had a hint of humour about it which I liked.
January 8, 2013
One of the best thrillers that most have never seen, let alone know of.
October 27, 2012
Some girls are trouble. A mentally disturbed young man poses as a CIA agent to date an 18 year old girl who ends up killing a man and her mother in the charade. He takes the fall for the murders while she ends the film by finding a new boyfriend.
½ August 3, 2012
Anthony Perkins plays another crazy person. Fun movie.
½ July 4, 2012
The movie starts of as a delicious black comedy, and as the story unravels, it becomes more and more of a noir thriller that has plenty of plot twists to keep the viewer glued to the screen. Excellent performances make the "who's manipulating who" scenario work flawlessly. Despite being made in late 60's and pre-dating many similarly themed movies, it doesn't feel old or dated.
Super Reviewer
April 22, 2012
"Boy. What a week. I met you on Monday, fell in love with you on Tuesday, Wednesday I was unfaithful, Thursday we killed a guy together. How about that for a crazy week, Sue Ann?"
Super Reviewer
April 16, 2012
This has a cult status? This film doesn't seem to me the kind that would have a fan base. Just look at how much ratings it has. There are a couple of things wrong here. To start off, the production value is poor. I felt like I was watching a good quality home video. The lighting is all wrong. The decision on time could have been better. By that I mean the transition of scenes on whether their morning or night. The good parts include the acting. Great acting by the main cast especially Anthony Perkins. I originally saw this because he was in Psycho. The plot itself is okay. Not a perfect plot but an entertaining one non the least. I advise you to give this a chance you might like it more then me.
April 2, 2012
Oh, it was a comedy?
JonathanHutchings
Super Reviewer
½ March 29, 2012
Tonally sophisticated, and well crafted cult staple from Noel Black. It's a shame that films like Pretty Poison have faded into obscurity, but really, it is apropos that a film this misunderstood stars two leads that Hollywood never knew what to do with, the fabulous Anthony Perkins and Tuesday Weld. Mixing a bit of Lolita, with a dash of NIght of the Hunter and a TON of Gun Crazy, Black and company seamlessly shift between neo-noir, black comedy and straight forward surrealism.

Perhaps what I like most about this film is that nothing is what it seems. One could be forgiven for believing the opening act was part of a badly-written comedy, probably because that is exactly what the writer wants you to think. Lorenzo Semple's tight script is slyly subversive both in its deceptively light treatment and in the manner in which it portrays small-town Americana (in much the same way that David Lynch would two decades later in Blue Velvet). He tells us that the white picket fences and pretty cheerleaders should never be taken at face value, because there is something rotten lurking beneath that all-American veneer -- but in true cult fashion, it has fun with that message, instead of taking itself too seriously.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the performances. Perkins (as usual) is terrific. You can see the layers of confidence slowly peeling away as his and Sue-Ann's roles become inexplicably reversed and he finds himself sinking deeper and deeper out of his depth until he is a mass of sweaty, twitching nerves, blindly following orders, all pretence of control abandoned. Weld is also first class. She plays her character the same throughout, even when her true colors are revealed to us, and resists the temptation to display the usual tics and grimaces of movie-land's bunny-boilers. And lest I forget, Beverly Garland, the quintessential B-movie actress of her day, who also turns in the best performance of her career as the mother everyone can hate.

All in all, it's a crime that Pretty Poison is so unknown. Now that it FINALLY got released on DVD, let's hope more people discover it.
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