Body Double

Body Double

“Body Double” is an exhilarating exercise in pure filmmaking, a thriller in the                  Hitchcock tradition in which there’s no particular point except that the hero is flawed and we identify with him completely.  The film gives more emphasis on visual storytelling rather than dialogue. Jake Scully (Craig Wasson) is a struggling actor who has lost his role as a vampire in a low-budget horror film.  At a method acting class he meets Sam (Gregg Henry) who offers Scully a place to stay.  Sam points out all the sights including a shapely neighbor (Deborah Shelton) who does a nightly striptease dance in front of her open window.  For two nights, he uses a telescope to watch the striptease.  He also begins to suspect that the woman may be in danger. Since the plot is so important in “Body Double,” i won’t reveal very much more of the story. It is a genuinely terrifying thriller. De Palma is at home in this genre. We see some fairly mild porno scenes in this film.  The film opens with a satire on vampire movies, includes a Hitchcockian cat-and-mouse sequence, and even borrows some of the clichés of 1940s film-noirs.   Technically, it’s a marvel of film technique.  Wasson’s claustrophobic attacks are effectively conveyed to the viewer. The infamous drill murder is a terrific setpiece.  Criag Wasson is good as the confused and creepy Scully and Deborah Shelton has a remoteness which fits in well with the dreaminess of some of her scenes.

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