Jenny Nix, wife of eminent child psychologist Carter Nix, becomes increasingly concerned about her husband's seemingly obsessive concern over the upbringing of their daughter. Her own adulterous affair with an old flame, however, causes her to neglect her motherly duties until a spate of local kidnapings forces her to accept the possibility that he may be trying to recreate the twisted mind-control experiments of his discreditied psychologist father. Written by
Ross Horsley <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sisters meets Scream meets Lost Highway meets god knows what
Raising Cain is an awesomely baffling set of pomo hijinks care of the man De Palma. I can't blame the hordes of people who hate this movie for its nastiness and incoherency, but those are the reasons I love it so much. It's a total parody/homage/celebration of the kind of razor-inspired fun De Palma spent much of his career perfecting, with the fun (and intentionally self-destructive) gimmick of presenting the movie more or less from Carter's point of view.
With this, the movie trades conventional thrills, chills, and spills for a sneakier sort of fun. Instead of putting together the sort of hallucinatory bloodbath De Palma specialized in, he takes it apart. It's like he took all of his box-office successes, threw them in a blender, and kneaded the mixture into an extended nightmare sequence of half-remembered horrors, unreliable visual intake, and malformed cliches.
If you try to take it as a straight thriller, it'll never work. It's a thriller plot turned into a horror flick, where instead of being the brave wife protecting people from her deranged husband, we're the deranged husband, not sure where we are or who we are, doing terrible things we don't quite understand, in a dreamworld constructed entirely of cliches and stock terrors.
Scream would take the parody aspect into firmer territory and Lost Highway would take the insane protagonist aspect into firmer territory as well, and both of those films worked very well, but Raising Cain gets the ultimate thumbs-up from me for being constructed much like my own nightmares and for genuinely surprising me from time to time, not to mention for creating a feeling of urgency and sympathy for Carter.
If you're into really oddball flicks, give Raising Cain a chance.
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