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Review of De Palma's thriller, 'Dressed to Kill"

Theatrical poster for the film 'Dressed to Kill' (1980).
Imp Awards/Wiki:Nreive

Dressed to Kill


"Dressed to Kill," is a 1980 thriller that was directed by Brian De Palma. The movie starred Nancy Allen, Keith Gordon, Angie Dickinson, Michael Caine, and Dennis Franz. Basically without giving away much detail, a housewife (Angie Dickinson) is murdered in an elevator, a prostitute (Nancy Allen) sees the murder, and it's up to her to find the killer, before the killer finds her. The victim's son (Keith Gordon) helps our heroine.

You can definitely see that De Palma was influenced by Alfred Hitchcock, which as always that's a good thing. The movie is quite suspenseful and nail biting. Even the ending of the movie is harrowing, Palma never let his audience in this movie uncoil from their fear. It goes straight in with an freakishly odd shower scene to the end with well just watch it.

The film does at times go heavy on the eroticism, which goes with the subject matter. Basically it's a erotic thriller before there was a movie made called "Basic Instinct." If you want to put it that way that is. While it has a few graphic scenes, it's not a total porn film, it does remind the viewer that they are watching a thriller. The subway scene is a fine example of how Palma is good at building tension.

I personally liked the chemistry between Allen and Gordon that Palma made. Now their characters weren't romantically link, it was more of a big sister and little brother relationship. There is almost a touching bond between them that I found charming.

This is a movie that everyone brings up once in awhile that you tell yourself you just have to see. Now the camera styling is really great, like his way he did some of scenes especially the split scenes. The soundtrack by Pino Donaggio. That music with those scenes gets your blood run cold.

Now would I watch it more than once and get the same effect, probably not, now if it was my first time watching it yes, that's why it holds up nicely. Though I think some scenes would still be harrowing to see more than once. I think watching it every ten years or something, just so you forget about what's going to happen works.

Overall "Dressed to Kill," works for what it is. It holds your attention, makes you on the edge of your seat, and even can disgust you. It kept my attention and even jumped a little in one scene. The acting was good, each character was unique.With a four out of 5 star rating, I think this could be called what Hitchcock would have made in the 80s.

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