out of 4
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Review by Dragan Antulov
1½ stars out of 4
Following the success of THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, Hollywood
launched the flood of serial killer films. There were so many films
dealing with this grave subject, that it soon became hard to make
anything original. Some studios and some filmmakers tried, though.
One of the examples is COPYCAT, 1995 thriller directed by Jon
Amiel. As the title says, it dealt with one of more obscure real-life
aspects of serial killers phenomenon.
Protagonist of the film is Dr. Helen Hudson (played by Sigourney
Weaver), one of the world's greatest experts for serial killers. Her
high-profile investigations into phenomenon has brought the
attention of very people she was about to study. One of them is an
escaped convict Reuben Goetz (played by Harry Connick Jr.) who
attacks her after one of her lectures. Goetz fails to kill her and is
apprehended, but the psychological wounds for Dr. Hudson are so
severe that she develops agoraphobia and never leaves her San
Francisco apartment. Her professional services are nevertheless
sought by Detective M.J. Monahan (played by Holly Hunter) when
another serial killer starts stalking local women. It soon becomes
apparent that the maniac kills his victims in fashion similar to Son of
Sam, Hillside Stranglers and other famous serial killers. Dr. Hudson
agrees to help the investigation but she too becomes the target.
COPYCAT has rather intriguing premise and the script by Ann
Biderman and David Madsen tries to give something of original
treatment to overused SILENCE OF LAMBS formula. Character of
Clarice Sterling is divided into two - insecure and fragile scientist
and tough policewoman. Director Amiel casts against type, by giving
the role of strong woman to petite Hunter and role of fragile woman
to tall Weaver, known for her fighting qualities in ALIEN series.
Unfortunately, this is as far as COPYCAT does anything original. In
everything else this film blindly follows all serial killer cliches, made
even more evident due to high budget and presence of more than
competent actors. Again we have to see investigators becoming
targets of serial killer and again we must see serial killers as
omnipotent people endowed with god-like abilities. Naturally all that
leads to rather predictable ending and sad conclusion that few films
had as fitting title as this one.
Copyright © 2003 Dragan Antulov
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