Dressed To Kill (1980) Review

Dressed To KillThe amazing Arrow Video continue their releases of the brilliant Brian De Palma’s back catalogue with his erotic thriller Dressed to Kill one of his most sexually explicit movies which is finally available on Blu-Ray in this uncut version.

Telling the story of bored housewife Kate Miller (Angie Dickinson) who spends her time on dirty day dreams due to her husband’s poor performance in bed, things in her life begin to get exciting after she visits her psychiatrist Dr Elliot (the legendary Michael Caine) who she tries to seduce.

Failing to tempt him she encounters a stranger at an art gallery who she ends up in a hotel room with however after her night of passion things take a terrible turn leading to bloody murder.

Dressed To Kill

With Kate’s son Peter (Christine star Keith Gordon) and high class hooker Liz (Blow Out’s Nancy Allen) caught up in catching the killer along with the police it is only Dr Elliot who knows the shocking truth, that his transgendered patient Bobbi is on a revenge driven death spree that seemingly only he can stop.Dressed To Kill

As in many of De Palma’s thriller movies Dressed to Kill, which he wrote as well as directing, combines Hitchcockian themes with amped up sex and violence delivering a great combination of tension and intrigue as the lives of all the seemingly unconnected characters involved slowly merge as they get nearer to revealing the murderer.

The cast are excellent with Allen’s hooker with a heart managing to be entirely different from her character in Blow Out and Gordon’s gadget obsessed man-boy growing up before are very eyes.

Dennis Franz also appears unsurprisingly playing a hardnosed cop and Dickenson is great as a woman set free by her sexual explorations. Cain is also on fine form reigning in his performance as the calm and collected Dr Elliot providing the perfect peaceful point for the story to revolve around until it all spins out of control in the climax.

Dressed To KillDressed To Kill

Wonderfully stylised as all De Palma’s movies are Dressed to Kill is expertly filmed looking even better thanks to the new restoration. With excellent set pieces, De Palma’s trademark split screen and great cinematography throughout it seems there is always something going on in every area of the frame on all levels and the cameras roving eye turns the audience into peeping toms while the characters remaining unaware of what is really going on around them.

With its sex filled story this won’t be to everyone’s tastes but to those who like their thrillers on the adult side De Palma delivers and by blending Hitchcock thrills with 80’s excess and style plus a giant dose of Giallo’s sex and death, Dressed to Kill not only looks good once you strip it down it has all that and brains too.

Movie Rating: ★

★ ★ ½ ☆ 



Alex Humphrey

Alex studied film at the University of Kent and went on to work for Universal Pictures in their Post Room gaining an inside look at the movie industry from the very bottom. Constantly writing reviews in everything from local magazines to Hip Hop sites Alex honed his critical skills even spending a brief period as a restaurant critic. Read more

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