21 October 2014

Body Double (1984)
114 min.
Directed by Brian De Palma.
With Craig Wasson, Melanie Griffith, Gregg Henry, Deborah Shelton, Dennis Franz, Guy Boyd.
Thirty years after Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954), director Brian De Palma conceived this virtual remake. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite live up to the master's work.

It does, however, provide yet another grabbag of Hitch-inspired suspense sequences and twisting plot turns. Some good bits, to be sure, including that memorable Indian driller sequence!

Looking for a place to live, B-movie actor Jake Scully (Wasson) is delighted when he finds a housesitting job in a plush high-rise apartment building. He's even more delighted when he can use a telescope to satisfy his voyeuristic tendencies by peeping on a beautiful young woman who lives in the adjacent building.

But things go terribly awry when during one of his peep sessions, Jake can only watch helplessly as the young woman is brutally murdered by a disfigured man. But has he really just witnessed what he thinks he's witnessed? Jake better act fast to uncover the truth behind the events, before the cops pin the murder on him!

Of all De Palma's work, Body Double feels the most unabashed homage to Hitchcock. Yet this doesn't always work to its benefit. In particular, Jake's 'claustrophobia' seems an all-too-convenient nod from Vertigo rather than a genuine plot point.

Nevertheless, Wasson gives a game performance as the troubled lead man, while Melanie Griffith co-stars as a two-bit porn star who helps him unravel the mystery.

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