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Copycat

 (606)
6.62 h 3 min1995X-Ray18
Oscar-winner Holly Hunter and Oscar-nominee Sigourney Weaver star in this taut, riveting psychological thriller. Weaver is a forensic expert on serial killers who suffers a breakdown after one of her subjects tries to kill her. Hunter is an ambitious cop who tries to draw the psychologist out of her self-imposed exile to help catch a murderer who is copying the work of other famous serial killers.
Directors
Jon Amiel
Starring
Sigourney WeaverHolly HunterDermot Mulroney
Genres
SuspenseDrama
Subtitles
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Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

606 global ratings

  1. 67% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 20% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 7% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 4% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

M. DowdenReviewed in the United Kingdom on 11 February 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Great Thriller
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If you think about it although there are films with strong female leads this is only one of a relatively few that have two powerful female leads, here in the characters played by Sigourney Weaver and Holly Hunter. Here then we first meet Dr Helen Hudson (Weaver) who is a leading expert on serial killers, but at the end of a lecture she finds herself being attacked by a killer. We then flash forward to thirteen months later.

Helen has now become something of a recluse due to the attack, suffering with agoraphobia and other symptoms related to PTSD. But she is needed, in this case by San Francisco police, the city she lives in. After making a phone call to the murder squad looking into some related deaths of young women, so the inspector on the case MJ Monahan (Hunter) realises that she really needs her assistance and advice.

As we watch the death toll continue to increase, so it is not long before they know that they have a copycat killer on their hands, one who uses the same modus operandi as previous famous killers to create his death scenes, and also one who changes what killer he copies. Whilst this is going on so we as the audience do get to see who the killer is and thus are one step ahead of the characters in this film, which means we can appreciate the cat and mouse game that is being played out.

With good strong performances so this ramps up the tension as we follow the case, and see why Helen is such a person of interest to serial killers, and why they are eager to really get to her. With Daryll Lee Cullum (Harry Connick Jr), the man who originally attacked her and now in prison, so we also follow him as he plays his games to get at Helen, through the help of other sick individuals.

With a good soundtrack and the appeal of serial killers, this film does ask a question that I think we need all to think about. That is the role that media in its different forms helps to create a celebrity out of a killer. As our killer here points out, that there are more books on Jack the Ripper than Abraham Lincoln. Most of us read these true crime books, with serial killers topping the list of these, but do such books encourage others to take up the wilful homicide of others, and by buying these books are we guilty of perpetuating this?

Still certainly worth watching this is solid all the way through, with Holly Hunter especially giving a believable and fully rounded performance.
2 people found this helpful
Mr RotivatorReviewed in the United Kingdom on 29 September 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Great film - but blu-ray buyers beware!
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Like another reviewer I agree that this is a great film, dated a little now, and I too was attracted to it initially not so much because of the premise but because I am also a great fan of the Alien films but at that time hadn't seen Sigourney Weaver in any other outing.

I used to own this on DVD but must have mislaid it at some point, having actually owned a blu-ray player for years, it's only now that I've connected it to anything more than a 24" TV and a mini system; suffice to say I now have a proper HD setup with 7.1 sound.

So going on a bit of a DVD to blu ray upgrade spree, including all the classics, I have been mightily impressed by the difference between the formats and now realise that although DVD was a long awaited upgrade on VHS, it wasn't actually *that* good, not really.

This is one of the few blu-rays where I, no motion media expert nor hardcore film buff, am thinking, 'hmmmm....', 'it's definitely *better* than I remember the DVD but I'm in no way blown away by this, in the same way as, for example, The Matrix, which as far as I know, has just been transferred to blu-ray, no special 'restoration' has taken place. Granted Copycat might have been a low-medium budget film, not exactly made with future HD in the thinking, so maybe the source is in a much worse condition than we would like to think.

Either way - great film, but, don't rush out for the blu ray, especially at crazy import prices.

Good news - it's marked Region A but it would seem that my not-knowingly-multiregion blu ray player (a Yamaha straight off the hifi shop shelf) doesn't seem to mind.
2 people found this helpful
Jack RansomReviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 February 2021
3.0 out of 5 stars
Copycat
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Copycat sees an agoraphobic psychologist (Sigourney Weaver) and a female detective (Holly Hunter) work together to take down a serial killer who copies serial killers from the past.

Released during the post-The Silence of the Lambs 90’s serial killer boom. Copycat is a largely familiar and cliched affair that was just one of the many films in this genre to be pumped out by Hollywood during this era. However its strong leading duo and unflinching and grisly detail heavy approach to the criminality on display does help make it a consistently entertaining watch.

The titular narrative hook of the film does admittedly make it standout from its era genre peers. Serial killer aficionados and those with an interest in the macabre topic will certainly have substantial material to chew on. However it’s the pacing and almost checklist approach to the genre tropes and traits. Some scenes are pretty much exact copies of The Silence of the Lambs (most notably a conversation between Weaver’s character and a killer from her past).

Those looking for a mystery element will be disappointed as the killer’s identity is revealed halfway through, so we know before the characters do. The scenes largely focus on Helen (Weaver) at her multiple screened computer base and the Detective duo investigating the crime scenes. The structure and rhythm is consistent and unravels well. However the film suffers from tonal clashing at times. Ranging from deadly serious and genuinely hard to look at crime scene photos and grisly descriptions, to the borderline goofy and hammy performance of the antagonist and those cheesy 90’s lines.

Visually the film is fine, nothing remarkable but it gets the job done. It’s a grounded and gritty affair when focusing on the crime scenes and the police station set design. Which contrasts the wealthy, personality based home of Helen and it’s thick colour palette. There is some occasional creative camerawork (a swaying bobbing movement to replicate Helen’s anxiety attack in one scene being notable) and the editing and cutting for the violent moments is solid.

Sigourney Weaver gives a charismatic and intense performance as Helen. A victim of a severe trauma that has left her a paranoid agoraphobic, Weaver really captures her fear and desperation, but also her still existing dedication to her life’s work. Holly Hunter’s witty and composed Detective Monahan is a good co-lead. She has good chemistry with her partner played by Dermot Mulroney and William McNamara & Harry Connick Jr. chew all available scenery.

Copycat is a perfectly fine serial killer thriller that will keep you entertained enough throughout. It doesn’t bring a lot of originality to the table and suffers from pacing problems, clashing tones and a lack of intrigue. However Weaver and Hunter give their all and the premise and unflinching look at the murder do make it worth at least checking out.
AlbatrossReviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 May 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Dated now, but cutting edge at the time
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Seeing as ‘Aliens’ is my favourite film of all time, I watch pretty much anything with Sigourney Weaver in. However, out of all the ‘post 1986’ films she’s appeared in, only this one really made me feel like I was watching Ripley (only doing a different job to ‘nuking the site from orbit’).

The most famous xenomorph hunter in the galaxy has hung up her Pulse rifle and flame thrower in favour of a (safer?!) career psychoanalysing serial killers and publicising her books on the topics with a series of college lectures across America. Unfortunately, her subject matter attracts worse things than a hall full of ghoulish, hormone-filled teenagers – she ends up nearly being killed by a serial killer. By luck, she survives (and this isn’t spoilers as it all happens within the first quarter of an hour of the film), but finds it impossible to leave her flat for fear of the outside. There, she utilises (what now looks like a prehistoric) internet connection to converse with the outside world until a new serial killer starts copying all the ‘classics’ i.e. Bundy, Manson etc and the police need her expertise to bring him to justice.

The lead officer is played by Holly Hunter, who does the whole ‘no-nonsense’ cop routine down to a tee. She’s good and you certainly won’t hate her performance, but her character is a bit more of a ‘one-note’ trick and, despite having – literally – more freedom than Weaver to move around the film’s world, doesn’t really have any scope to develop. However, the two of them play off each other well and, although this certainly isn’t something as cheesy as a ‘good-cop/bad-cop’ movie, the two have plenty of good interchanges.

I remember watching this back in the nineties when the internet was in its infancy and cutting and pasting pictures out on computers, then sending them via email was actually a pretty ‘sci-fi’ concept (well, almost) and ‘Copycat’ did well to utilise this ‘new’ technology and bring out the dark side of how the internet could be misused.

If you’re into your serial killer type movies then you should definitely enjoy this. It may not be remembered quite so fondly as ‘Silence of the Lambs,’ but I do think it has enough originality and star-power to be up there with the best of nineties thrillers. Plus, if you’re a fan of ‘Aliens’ like me then just try and listen to (almost!) every Sigourney Weaver line and see if you can hear how it’s come straight from ‘Aliens’ itself (not to mention even the soundtrack and musical stings sound like James Horner’s 1986 work!).
3 people found this helpful
Dr Debbie TranterReviewed in the United Kingdom on 07 July 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Engrossing from start to finish
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This movie is a classic 90's thriller that is built on excellent acting, an appealing story line (albeit with a few holes) and an engaging soundtrack. All forensic psychologists and forensic psychiatrists must sincerely dread becoming a real life Helen Hudson. Hudson is played by Sigourney Weaver; the character is a tortured, housebound forensic psychologist plagued by PTSD, insomnia and agoraphobia after surviving an attack by a serial killer called Darryl Cullum. Fast forward 13 months and Hudson's nightmare is about to start all over again when she is stalked and embroiled in a battle of wits by copycat killer 'Peter Kurten'. Holly Hunter, who plays an aspiring detective, and her sidekick Dermot Mulroney, come together to track down Hudson's stalker and wannabe serial killer. It's disturbing in parts as Kurten re-enacts the murders committed by The Boston Strangler, The Hillside Stranglers and Ted Bundy. Definitely one for all fans of thrillers out there. No spoilers here; watch it yourself to experience this good little golden oldie.
Mervyn CapelReviewed in the United Kingdom on 08 February 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Classic Serial Killer Movie
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A minor classic of the genre. Personally I cannot fault it. It's cleverly constructed without seeming contrived, the characters are appealing. Sigourney Weaver ( as an emotionally damaged, housebound criminal psychologist) & Holly Hunter (a hard-nosed San Francisco detective) team up when someone appears to be imitating famous the crimes of famous serial killers.
There are a number of genuinely startling moments!
4 people found this helpful
Leo Searle HawkinsReviewed in the United Kingdom on 25 August 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
One of the scariest and most horrible films I've seen
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I gave this 5 stars for the brilliant acting, directing and storyline. However it is too gruesome to get me watching it again. This film is superbly made but is not fun. Nor is it inspiring. Just a sad portrayal of the worst side of this being human ...
2 people found this helpful
Roland DeschainReviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 June 2013
4.0 out of 5 stars
Slightly OTT but good fun.
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A very entertaining movie that shamelessly tries to rip off Silence of the Lambs as a killer (Cullen) is contacted to help catch a serial killer who is copying other famous serial killers, Sigourney Weaver is the serial killer expert who is attacked by Harry Connick Jrs demented killer Cullen in the opening minutes, Holly hunter is the cop who seeks out the experts help when a new serial killer is on the loose, after some persuasion the now agoraphobic expert agrees to help and they contact Cullen, it is an entertaining but low powered film that will keep you watching, but ticking off the cliches and homages too.
2 people found this helpful
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