Main      Site Guide    
At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Body Double (1984)



Reviews and Comments

In his prime, Brian de Palma can be a skillful director with a fresh, twisted vision. In many senses, he's Alfred Hitchcock's successor. He's never matched Hitchcock's best, but he often makes chilling suspense films with the same sort of wry, black comic take on the characters.

Body Double is not one of them. Body Double is a poor attempt at it, an uneven, slipshod thriller that alternates between spooky suspense and sleazy self-indulgence. One good sequence so Hitchcockian it's borderline plagiarism has the protagonist chasing after a mysterious woman he's infatuated with. They're on the beach, badguys may or may not also be around, there's a checkerboard of tents, and our obsessed hero is trying to track her down. The scene ends in a long, dark tunnel and finally, at long last, we'll see and hear the woman for the first time and know, perhaps, a little of who she is.

But for every effective sequence such as this, there are two or three more that aren't, including a couple that are prolonged and counterproductive enough to sink the film. The conclusion, in particular, lapses into the mechanical cliches of many a paint-by-number thriller. The film left me empty and unsatisfied.