Copycat Review

Psychologist Helen Hudson (Weaver) becomes agoraphobic after being menaced by a serial killer, but when another killer starts threatening the city, tough cop MJ Monahan (Hunter) asks her for help…

by Kim Newman |
Published on
Release Date:

26 Apr 1996

Running Time:

123 minutes



Original Title:


This slick chiller signals its intentions and limitations from the start where we drop in on movie psychologist Dr. Helen Hudson (Weaver) as she delivers a lecture about serial killers before being menaced in the toilet by a leering movie psycho. Thirteen months later, Helen is a movie agoraphobic confined to an apartment large enough to send any real agoraphobic into catatonia. Yet another movie killer is at large, recreating famous crimes of the past with a series of artistic homage murders, which leads movie cop M.J. Monahan (Hunter) to bring Helen into the case.

It must be hard for actresses as unconventional and gutsy as Weaver and Hunter to find scripts worth making. Although this offers them both meaty parts with plentiful neuroses and snappy lines, it is otherwise a completely mechanical load of old cods. Certainly, some bits of creepy business (check out the ants in the bed scene) will make you jump, but you're more likely to keep cringing as plot implausibilities pile up. The boyish villain (William MacNamara) consistently acts in a ridiculous fashion, repeatedly breaking into Weaver's apartment to menace her and carrying out a series of unbelievable murders for unbelievable reasons.

Amiel, tagged "promising" on the strength of The Singing Detective, does a solidly professional job here, allowing both heroines enough room to get emotional and play cute. Weaver, who displays an alarming likeness to Hugh Grant, comes off worst because she is encouraged to overact trembling hysteria, while Hunter mainly trots along behind her waving a gun and sporting a perky smile. And ignore the feminist facade; this is basically a bloke-carving-up-women film.

Though the success of Seven, in the same year, suggests that the serial killer thriller can throw up surprises, this all-too-aptly titled film suggests it is time to find another dead horse to flog.
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