Copycat (1995)

In the new thriller COPYCAT, Sigourney Weaver plays Helen Hunter, a
criminal psychologist whose specialty is serial killers.  That is,
whose specialty *was*.  She's since retired, after an attack thirteen
months ago left her an agoraphobic alcoholic.  (She can't leave her
heavily-reinforced home without a drink and a panic attack, and not
necessarily in that order.)  Into Helen's protected world steps a
diminutive detective (*Holly* Hunter), who needs her help in solving
a string of brutal murders.  (Is there any other kind?)  As it turns
out, there's another demented, young white male on the loose.  Except
this one is imitating the most infamous killers in history.

Sitting-duck slasher pics don't come much more effective than this.
Directory Jon Amiel (SOMMERSBY) keeps twisting the screws, combining
a stalker's POV in almost every other shot, with plenty of throbbing
music, and gratuitous scenes of the killer planning his crimes.
(Ladies, please trim your fingernails before attending with your
dates.)  All very effective devices that are dressed-up considerably
by screenwriters Ann Bidermand and David Madsen.  Their story is
intelligent, though way too overplotted to be logical.**  The
psychology adds up okay, even if this is really just a big boo-house
at heart.  Where SEVEN was stylish, COPYCAT is shameless.  Where
MANHUNTER was moody, COPYCAT is manipulative.  And so on.

The casting is choice.  After three ALIEN bug-hunts, Sigourney Weaver
certainly can play peril.  Her foil, Holly Hunter, is surprisingly
effective, despite her small size and smaller voice.  "Have the mice
stopped screaming, Clarice?"  The partner is played a solid Dermot
Mulroney.  (Together, they patrol the streets of San Francisco as
"Monahan and Getz."  Such great cop names!)  In a substantially
smaller role, Harry Connick Jr. is a hoot as a backwoods bad guy
whose resemblance to Jim Varney suggests the title for the inevitable

Grade: B+

**- The audience has too much time to wonder about such things as why
    Weaver's character doesn't own a gun.  Or, where and on what
    planet did she find such a fast modem for her computer?  Or, if
    anybody else thinks that Weaver could pass for Hugh Grant's older

Copyright 1995 by Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies

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