Raising Cain


Raising Cain

Critics Consensus

Raising Cain doesn't rank with Brian De Palma's best work, but John Lithgow's spellbinding split-personality performance makes this thriller hard to dismiss.



Total Count: 35


Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,657
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Movie Info

A complicated thriller, directed with great visual style by Brian De Palma, Raising Cain is the story of twin brothers, Carter and Josh (John Lithgow), one good and one evil, who will stop at nothing to find children to further their father's psychological experiments. John Lithgow is outstanding in the role of the brothers. Lolita Davidovich, is also good as his wife Jenny, who he may or may not have murdered. To even identify the other characters would give away too much of the complicated plot, which twists and turns, leaving the audience constantly guessing who is really who. The film is darkly comic and De Palma and his unusual plot devices play homage to Alfred Hitchcock, along with Orson Welles and Michael Powell's Peeping Tom.

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John Lithgow
as Carter/Cain/Dr. Nix/Josh/Margo
Lolita Davidovich
as Dr. Jenny Nix
Steven Bauer
as Jack Dante
Frances Sternhagen
as Dr. Waldheim
Gregg Henry
as Lt. Terri
Tom Bower
as Sgt. Cally
Ed Hooks
as Coroner
Jim Johnson
as Night Clerk
Karen Kahn
as Saleslady
Noe Montoya
as Gardener
Carolyn Morrell
as Newscaster
Scott Townley
as Little Boy Josh
Mary Uhland
as Receptionist
Steve Schill
as Weatherman
James Van Harper
as Young Detective
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Critic Reviews for Raising Cain

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (20) | Rotten (15)

  • "Raising Cain" is one for the books-a thrilling, funny, exciting and creepy exercise in suspense and humor from a master filmmaker firing on all cylinders.

    Oct 8, 2018 | Full Review…
  • That's the stuff of scary melodrama, especially with children in jeopardy. Unfortunately, DePalma fails to deliver real fright or titillation to his target audience, instead opting for satire.

    Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Lawrence Cohn

    Top Critic
  • Lithgow is consistently brilliant, while Davidovich makes a good fist as his wife. A really exciting 90 minutes worth, so long as you don't take it too seriously.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Steve Grant

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • A delirious thriller starring John Lithgow as a man with at least three more personalities than he really needs, finds Mr. De Palma creating spellbinding, beautifully executed images that often make practically no sense.

    May 20, 2003 | Full Review…
  • Still, the failure to go beyond implication blunts the movie's power and leaves De Palma stranded. As a result, the film becomes merely a scary prank. It's as if he forgot why he was making the movie in the first place.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…
  • De Palma always winds up letting his worst instincts get the better of him.

    Oct 8, 2018 | Rating: 1.5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Raising Cain

  • Feb 06, 2019
    Plays out like a trashy airport paperback. It's not remotely scary but its outrageous enough to be enjoyable.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 13, 2011
    Brian DePalma is one of my favourite filmmakers and even this film is a guilty pleasure. Lithgow is incredible in the lead role and you miss every moment he is off screen. DePalma is in true form and that finale is perfect Hitchcock tension. The scene with Waldheim and the detectives is a master class scene of filmmaking. If you have any doubt of DePalma, check that scene out. The film is out there and it is a tough film to engage with early on. I have heard of a DC version of the film, but that is not the version I have seen. DePalma hasn't changed his filmmaking style over the years and this is another film I enjoy watching from time to time. 02/04/2019
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Jan 20, 2010
    A misunderstood movie that is almost as bizarre and comical in nature as Body Double. Brian De Palma’s style really shines here, due to the fact that he plays perfectly with insanity. His shots make sense more than they do in some of his other work. To make this what it is though, it wouldn’t be complete without someone like John Lithgow. He gives such a scarily funny performance(s) as a man gone crazy in four different ways. The plot is very much a homage to Psycho, but even more on the edge of insanity. Whether it’s kidnapping babies or dressing like Margot, Carter is quite the multiple personalities victim. I would only suggest watching it if you get Brian De Palma’s style, otherwise you will be completely lost and write it off as silly.
    Conner R Super Reviewer
  • Nov 05, 2008
    not a bad movie keeps you on the edge of your seat,John Lithgow is great in it,worth the rent on a Friday night.
    Daryl . Super Reviewer

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