Dir: Brian De Palma
Star: Margot Kidder, Jennifer Salt, William Finley, Lisle Wilson

After Femme Fatale and Mission to Mars, it's hard to believe Brian De Palma hasn't always been a talentless hack. But, while this movie borrows heavily from Hitchcock (most obviously Rear Window), not least by using "his" composer, Bernard Herrmann, De Palma brings enough originality and downright weirdness to the material to make it fresh. The most memorable and crucial part is a lengthy split-screen sequence where journalist Grace Collier (Salt) sees a murder in a nearby apartment. By the time she and the police get there, the evidence is gone - there's just smiling French-Canadian Danielle (Kidder). But Grace knows what she saw, and is determined to prove it...

As a simple murder-mystery, it'd be good, if forgettable. What saves the film is how it careers off into psychodrama, after Grace finds out that Danielle is a separated Siamese twin. Hey, the one-sheet gives it away, why shouldn't I? And believe me, that's just the tip of this lurid cinematic iceberg. At times, the 'body horror' makes this feel more like a Cronenberg movie, though he was then still unknown. Simultaneous creepy and darkly humourous ("funny" doesn't quite cut it), this heads off the deep end, and keeps right on swimming, eventually leaving us behind. But we wished it well as it headed out to sea...


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