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a great movie, misunderstood by most
Undead_Master7 December 2003
Warning: Spoilers
possible spoilers

I'm pretty sure that Body Double is one of the most misunderstood movies of all time. Many people call it a tribute to Hitchcock, other people call it a rip-off of Hitchcock, some people think it's a parody.... I think it's more than any of those things, I think it's an analysis. A humorous, insightful essay on Hitchcock... Kind of like something Godard might do, which isn't surprising when you realize that Godard is also a big influence on De Palma.

The distancing techniques employed in the film, the way he hams it up, the scenes where the internal logic breaks down in obvious ways, like the kissing scene near the tunnel, where the movie suddenly reenacts the famous hotel kiss from the second half of vertigo, at a very unexpected time with almost no set up to make the scene believable... All these things are intentional, designed to let the audience in on the fact that this is not just a straight forward movie (although it can be enjoyed that way). De Palma wants the audience to have some separation from the story so that they can look at the movie in a more critical way, and think about Hitchcock's movies from a different perspective. These distancing techniques also allow de Palma to get away with some pretty harsh/sleazy scenes, and that was necessary because the analysis wouldn't have worked any other way.

This is basically De Palma saying, "what if Vertigo and Rear Window had a baby, but the baby was born in the 80's and raised by a prostitute and a murderous pimp." The result is a fascinating movie that stands up very well, as long as you understand the intentions. If you take it the right way, it's one of De Palma's very best movies.

As a big fan of vertigo and rear window (vertigo is my favorite movie of all time), it was fascinating to me, to see De Palma, rework those story's, twine them together, and put them in a different context. I really enjoyed it both times I've watched it, and I'm pretty sure it's one of those movies that will just keep getting better with repeated viewing.
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Much better than expected
shaun983 April 2002
I admit when I rented this movie, I did so just to get some cheap thrills. I was aware of the negative reviews from uptight critics who dismissed it as sleaze, and to be honest, that's what I was in the mood for. Besides, my curiosity was aroused. (No cheap jokes, please!)

To my surprise, this is actually a compelling, well-crafted thriller. Let me take it a step further. It's an improvement over DePalma's effective but overpraised "Dressed to Kill." "Body Double" is actually better-constructed and better-paced. Perhaps the extremes of the film's content turned off some members of the critical community. And keep in mind that many of these people loved Dressed.

However, if you can stomach some of the content (it would certainly warrant an NC-17 in today's climate), there's much to like here. DePalma's approach might be manipulative, but when he does so this effectively, it's hard to complain. Technically, it's a marvel of film technique. Wasson's claustrophobic attacks are effectively conveyed to the viewer. When they hit him, they hit us just as hard. The very ending, which I wouldn't dream of giving away, is a work of pure genius. The infamous drill murder is a terrific setpiece.

One aspect that interested me was its attitude towards porno. So-called "dirty movies" are not condemned, but treated as simply being another side of the film industry. It's not considered right or wrong; it's just there. Such a nonjudgmental outlook is refreshing after hearing the tiresome rants of self-appointed "moral watchdogs." Likewise, there is a loving tribute to B-movies during the opening and closing credits.

"Body Double" isn't good art by any means, but it's good trash. Watch it, and you will behold DePalma at his sleazy best. He makes no apologies for what he does, nor would we want him to do so.

***1/2 (out of ****)

Released by Columbia Pictures
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De Palma in his Hitchcock Phase
GizmoMkI25 June 2002
Sort of a cross between "Rear Window" and "Vertigo" but instead of James Stewart we get Craig Wasson as a struggling actor mixed in with some sly jokes at the film studios, actors, and adult films. Visually very stylish with hypnotic score. Bizarre music video sequence is well done to the tune of "Relax" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. If you can look past the plot holes, it's an entertaining over-the-top effort from De Palma.
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hilarious exercise in style and murder mystery
I've been a fan of De Palma long time and I just saw this one this night. To my enjoyment, I had a few smiles, even laughters, intensity, involving to the storyline, getting that suspense that is needed.

This movie is a perfect example to pull of what Hitchcock has done best in "Rear Window" and "Vertigo". De Palma set up those two basic ideas into a story that's really enjoyable and intense same time. Especially when you are in the knowledge of the movies of the 40s and 50s and the art of making a thriller you are just going to be pleased.

My guess is that De Palma made this movie out of pure pleasure, doing all those great stuff with claustrophobia, sexual need, voyeurism, grotesque murder, and most of all terrifying suspense.

The murder sequence was in my opinion of a well crafted exercise in suspense. You fear, then you hope, then you try to guess, it goes all right, then all wrong, the hero comes, it seems at right time, but still too late, it all goes on and on and you can't believe it happened. Loved and hated the sequence, for film-making and emotional purposes.

Not the greatest, but definitely one of De Palmas best.
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De Palma's lurid and outrageous thriller hits all the right marks as more of a satire or parody than a full-on thriller, and magnificently so
MisterWhiplash4 July 2007
With Body Double, Brian De Palma has another of his "Hitchcock rip-offs", but in quotes as it's the easy critical thing that's already been said by others. The film is really a lot more cunning than that, and has a level of cunning wit that one could more associate with De Palma's early comedies that felt very much about skewering the style being homaged as opposed to incurious methods. If one looks at it as much as a big wink and a nod to films like Rear Window and especially Vertigo, with a lot of direct jabs at Hollywood and the whole method of acting and pretending, there's a lot on the table. It's also tasteless in its outrageous depictions of sensuality and seduction, not just sex which gets a lot of wicked moments that veer almost totally into what's being made fun of, and has a huge "gotcha" ending that works specifically for its shock value. It's own self-consciousness is a huge asset, as when De Palma is at his best or at least most assertive, in this case pushing the taboo of mixing regular dramatic fiction with soft-core porno to a limit with glee.

It's not even that one can't take it sort of seriously as a work of kind-of pop-art, as in taking in the outlandish brilliance of a much better-than-average paperback book, because De Palma is on his toes the whole time in crafting a melodramatic thriller. There's even an experiment in tension which starts as an long homage to the 'following' sequences in Vertigo, but then building to a high crescendo and then to another. In fact, Body Double is silent for a lot of the time, but as something that is worked into the main character. Craig Wasson is a perfect foil for the events that unfold around him as the "witness" to all that comes before his watchful eye in a befriended man's apartment. In what is, to be sure, fairly typical material for the director with the basics of the substance, the story calling back to Hi, Mom and Sisters especially (hence as well the connection to the knowing dips into comedy, of which both of those could be considered as), though this time the 'hero' is a of weakling with panic attacks at the moment to act, albeit already an actor. A murder is witnessed following a pivotal plot point and high-flying moment of romance (again, calling attention to its over-length), then the dive into porno comes around.

It's trashy, sure, but why shouldn't that make it more enjoyable if one's to get the kidding and sharp sensibility after a while? Wasson, looking a bit like a double of Bill Maher sometimes, has the expression of terror in his eyes, and a kind of strange guts needed to pull off a hilariously flawed pawn. De Palma also intentionally casts to type with both women and the villains, one for each being more deceptive (i.e. Henry's Brouchard and Shelton's Gloria, who are very much like "movie" caricatures from the craftiest and most seductive of film-noir), and with one 'villain' called the Indian, donning a face that's a riot just to look at, who at one point engages in a murder including the most blatant phallic imagery in any murder scene from the filmmaker. But, again, it all works exceptionally for rhythm and a sort of momentum build into even the smaller moments. As cheesily 80's as it is, I loved the whole music video Relax, where occasionally as De Palma almost makes us forget that a movie is being shot within this scene, the camera shooting Wasson and Griffith comes into view in a mirror. But that's just a sly joke, as opposed to the scenes where suspense and humor get the back and forth treatment, where you aren't sure whether to laugh or cringe or look at the screen through closed fingers peeking out.

I can actually understand some of the negative criticisms of Body Double. I probably wouldn't be so forgiving of it being so proudly 'B-movie' while appearing to be a big Hollywood crime-drama, if I wasn't at least intrigued on the outset from the sensibility behind it all. 'Guilty Pleasure' comes to mind as a defense, but I should digress into what it really comes down to- either you'll go along for a De Palma atmosphere that is wild and cynical and full of rough-edges, or you won't. In other instances with the director I've gone for the latter, but this isn't one of them. One of the best of 1984.
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Jason Forestein21 October 2004
I was introduced to Brian De Palma at the rather tender age of 7, when I watched The Untouchables with my parents. My friend Nicky and I enjoyed it immensely and found the rousing tale of Elliot Ness et al. an absolutely brilliant cop v. robber/adventure movie. Until Tim Burton released Batman in 1989, Untouchables was our game of choice and we would re-enact the entire movie in my back yard after school.

But I'm supposed to be talking about Body Double... To make a long story short, since I was 7, I didn't know who Brian De Palma was, nor did I really care, so I went about my cinephillic youth without completely immersing myself in his oeuvre. I caught bits and pieces of it, encountering Scarface as a fourteen-year-old and finding it laughable, watching Sisters with (how apropos) my sister before I went off to college and finding it intriguing, and finally seeing Femme Fatale when it was released a couple years ago and thinking it amazing.

So, as you can see, I grew into De Palma and, since watching Femme Fatale, I've gone back and watched many of his films (even Phantom of the Paradise, which was an epiphany - go see it immediately). I re-watched Scarface, Carrie, Blow-out, Wise Guys, the Untouchables, etc. and then this week I saw Body Double at the video store. The cover art, which is horrible, drew me in. I said, Jason, that cover art is so tacky and the movie is called Body Double, it must be awful. Flipping the case over, what should I find? De Palma.

Oh my. I scooped it up then and there, went home, and popped it in the player. How had I not heard of this film? Probably because 2/3 of the natural world finds it a trashy piece of filth. I find it brilliant.

It is your typical De Palma suspense thriller. Riffs on Hitchcock, beautifully fluid camera movements, sexual 'dysfunction,' an exploration of voyeurism, Hollywood satire, a convoluted and endearingly unbelievable story...

So why watch it? Because unlike most movies Body Double cannot seem to take itself too seriously. Body Double moves forward with a straight face but, as evidenced by the Frankie Goes to Hollywood video somehow slipped into this film and an awful rubber mask, De Palma's tongue is so firmly in his cheek it's liable to break through the skin. Could a film that's credits hearken back to the EC Comics font really intend to be taken seriously? No. Oh, and for you scenesters out there, QT may have found inspiration for his first film's title in Body Double's final scene which, you guessed it, contains both a reservoir and dogs.

And yet, although the movie on some level parodies the preposterous suspense thrillers of yore, it also never condescends to them. De Palma directs this movie with such glee and exuberance, that you know he loves those types of movies (well, I mean if Phantom of the Paradise, Sisters, and Dressed to Kill hadn't let the cat out of the bag already).

Anyway, if you enjoy maverick directors unafraid of genre-pictures, fun, and enormous drills, this is a movie for you. However, if you like Lars Von Trier or other such beings who take themselves and their art far too seriously at times, go elsewhere.
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A great movie! Tremendously underrated and overlooked
sspelling117 December 2005
This is a terrific murder mystery / comedy / erotic thriller, and Brian De Palma's next flick after Scarface. Let yourself go along with it for a really fun ride. The style is tongue in cheek, masterful film-making including the usual ballet camera work and wonderfully interesting imaginative staging. It looks like everyone had a lot of fun making this overlooked gem! The star, a young Craig Wasson gives an Oscar caliber performance overlooked by all the critics. What gives with this? Scorsese never won an Oscar for best director either, so the fix must be in. He carries the entire movie and is in practically every scene. An unbelievably great performance! This actor never made it big to the big time, but if you want to see a terrific real actor providing a stunning display of his chops, you must check this flick. Truly one of the great murder mysteries of all time. A real find.
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DePalma at his brilliant best!
Tiger_Mark6 November 2003
This has to be one of my favorite films of all-time. I first saw it some ten years ago and I still cannot get it out of my mind. It was in fact, the muse for the future great film "Boogie Nights." It centers a masterful story around the porn industry of Southern California during the early 1980's. It mixes in excellent cinematogrophy with vivid sets and mind altering music. It is as fun to watch as it is to listen to. The story grabs you early and it does not release you till the very end. Mix in comedy, violence, sex and drama, and of course, if Mr. DePalma is involved, you will have more than a few twists (there are plenty). Melanie Griffith is hotter than hot! This movie has it all, I really do love it.

The story involves an out of work actor who is down on his luck. He soon becomes infatuated with a beautiful woman that he sees brutally killed by a rather disfigured Indian character. Ahh, but things are not what they appear to be. To give away anymore would deny you the fun and excitement that comes with watching this brilliant film. Enjoy!
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Brian DePalma: "People hate me or love me."
Galina11 July 2007
I am a Brian DePalma's fan. I love his style, his visual uniqueness, his ability to grab me from the very opening of his films and not let me take my eyes off the screen until the very last moment and even after that keep me a captive of his dangerous yet seductive worlds. I liked a lot every De Palma's film I've seen: The Black Dahlia (2006), Femme Fatale (2002), Snake Eyes (1998), Mission: Impossible (1996), Carlito's Way (1993), The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990), Casualties of War (1989), The Untouchables (1987), Scarface (1983), Dressed to Kill (1980), and Carrie (1976).

As with all his films, you either love "Body Double" and let its typical De Palma's over-the-top charm, his mesmerizing beautiful camera movements, his 20 minutes long, dialog-free pursuit sequence, his intense interest in exploration of sexual "dysfunction," his constantly present obsession with voyeurism, his satire on making cheap horror and adult movies, and his loving yet humorous homage to several Alfred Hitchcock's films overwhelm you or you just dismiss it scornfully for its most impossible and unbelievable story, for the plentiful coincidences and the holes in the plot, for the excessive violence, and for its sensationalism and exploitation. I found "Body Double" shocking, poignant, satirical, often hilarious, and always highly entertaining. Once again, De Palma did not disappoint me. I figured from the beginning where the story of a struggling B-movie actor (Craig Wasson) with many problems (claustrophobia that cost him a part in a horror movie, break-up with a cheating girlfriend, witnessing a gruesome murder and becoming a possible suspect) would lead. It did not stop me from enjoying the film and admiring De Palma's ability to trick me not just once but many times by making me see what he only wanted me to see, yet never hiding the whole picture and using to perfection his magic camera that "lies all the time; lies 24 times/second". I believe that De Palma himself has provided the keys to better understanding and enjoying his films when he said, "My films deal with a stylized, expressionistic world that has a kind of grotesque beauty about it." All we have to do - to recognize the beauty behind the grotesque.

P.S. Melanie Griffith gave her best performance and stole all her scenes as a hot blond smart porn star with "a head for business and a bod for sin" who might help Jack to solve the mystery of the brutal murder he had witnessed.

P.P.S. After I finished watching "Body Double", I added to my rental list "Blow Out" (1981) and "Sisters" (1973). Exploration of De Palma's worlds continues.
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If Something's Worth Doing, It's Worth Overdoing
seymourblack-129 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Brian De Palma's "Body Double" is an extremely entertaining thriller which reflects the decade in which it was released by being full of excess and completely over the top. The 1980s was a time when it was often said that "if something's worth doing, it's worth overdoing" and on the evidence of this movie, De Palma was clearly on message. The plot contains numerous enjoyable twists and involves murder, voyeurism and duplicity. It also, however, tests the boundaries of good taste in the passages where it becomes particularly lurid and prurient.

Jake Scully (Craig Wasson) is a claustrophobic actor who loses his job on a vampire movie because of his affliction and then returns home to find his unfaithful girlfriend in flagrante delicto. This leaves him without a roof over his head, but not for long, because soon another actor offers him a house-sitting job. His friend also helpfully points out an apartment close by where a beautiful woman performs a striptease routine in front of her window every night at the same time. Jake watches the nightly performances by Gloria Revelle (Deborah Shelton) and after he witnesses her murder, becomes a suspect.

Jake soon realises that he's been set up and his attempts to find the real perpetrator bring him into contact with a porn star called Holly Body (Melanie Griffith) who has the information he needs to confirm the killer's identity.

Brian De Palma is an exceptional talent who creates great visual moments and skilfully constructs long sequences without dialogue which brilliantly generate atmosphere whilst also moving the story forward. His frequent use of Hitchcockian influences is well recognised and "Body Double" is no exception. The plot has elements which are reminiscent of "Vertigo", "Rear Window" and also to a lesser extent "Psycho". The presence of doubles, disguises, women in danger, confused identities, black humour and a significant amount of audience manipulation are also additional influences from the same source. Hitchcock's fear of being buried alive inspires a couple of scenes and the inclusion of Melanie Griffith in the cast is an additional link to the great director as she is the daughter of one of Hitchcock's leading ladies (Tippi Hedren).

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. Melanie Griffith is also bubbly and amusing in the movie's strongest performance as she successfully brings to life the full range of Holly's qualities.
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Stylish, But Not As Smart As It Tries To Be
ccthemovieman-126 February 2007
This was a wild, confusing - and extremely stupid - movie for the first 50 minutes BUT once the action kicks in and all the twists and turns begin happening, it's definitely a fun ride from that point. That's director Brian De Palma, for you: intriguing visuals, with Alfred Hitchcock- type camera angles, a lot of twists and sometimes a great movie and sometimes a very bad one. More often, sad to say, a bad movie.

I'd have to rank this closer to "bad" than "good." I'd like to rank it higher but Craig Wasson's character, "Jake Scully," (he's the lead) was so stupid at times that I almost stopped the tape. That, and too mean an edge overall to this movie, made it unappealing. It's not far removed from a very soft porn film at times, either, since the female lead, played by Melanie Grifftith, plays a porn star. We see a fair share of nudity, although it's hard to complain looking at a naked Griffith.

Overall, it has style - De Palma loves that - but it plays like a film that that thinks it's smart, but doesn't connect to its audience.....sort of like Hollywood in general.
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Sleazy But Compelling Thriller
davidchisholm30 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Body Double is one of Brian DePalma's best thrillers to come out of the early '80s. It is a good companion piece to Dressed To Kill and Blowout. The film is both a sex thriller and a semi-satire of Hollywood as seen though the struggling actor's point of view. DePalma tends to wallow the film in voyeurism and sleaze especially scenes that the viewer into the world of pornography but it's hard to take your eyes off it because it is a compelling thriller. DePalma was also smart to cast a relatively unknown actor in the lead role instead of a big name actor. Craig Wasson gives a good performance as Jake Scully, a struggling actor who suffers from a severe case of claustrophobia which costs him a lead role in a "B" horror movie. To make matters worst he walks in on his girlfriend having sex with another guy. Now out on his ass - jobless and homeless - we see Jake at various bad auditions and sleeping in hotel lobbies. At these auditions he runs into another actor named Sam Bruchard (Gregg Henry), a slick but friendly guy who is all to eager to help Jake out by giving a place to stay in a sphere shaped house up the hills while he's out of town on a gig. Sam also entices Jake to peep across the road at a beautiful woman (Deborah Shelton) who likes to do an erotic dance every night in lingerie. Jake becomes obsessed with this woman and when he watching her at home he sees her get abused by her brute of a husband and one night sees a disfigured looking Indian watching and then stalking her. This leads to Jake following her around trying to protect her from immanent danger but his fruitless attempts lead him to witnessing a brutal murder which leads him to try and solve this puzzle himself by going undercover in the porn business where he meets porn star Holly Body played by a young and then unknown Melanie Griffith (who is great) who may just be a major key to this mystery. I love the performances by the three leads. Craig Wasson was effective as a nerdy and naive character. You always feel like your a step ahead of him but he pulled the part off. Gregg Henry has made a career at playing slimy villains and here he doesn't disappoint and Melanie Griffith is convincing as a tough talking and sexy porn star. I recommend this film to anyone who likes Brian DePalma's films. He's been a gutsy filmmaker when it comes to explicit subject matter that no other director of his generation have dare to explore.
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A Classic by Director Brian De Palma
ebiros27 January 2013
I can't believe that critics panned this movie when it came out. I have to give director Brian De Palma for his eyes for beauty, and crisp cinematography.

Jake (Craig Wilson) is s struggling actor with claustrophobia. One day he gets invited to house sit a house that belongs to a guy named Sam (Gregg Henry) who he met while looking for a place to live. Across the street on his Hollywood hills home, is a woman who dances away each night in a skimpy attire. Not knowing that he's being set up to be a witness, he watches her with a telescope each night.

Holly (Malany Griffith) supposedly is Gloria (Deborah Shelton)'s body double in this movie, but what's not clear is where was Gloria when Holly was dancing away in her room each night. Ex miss USA Deborah Shelton looks gorgeous in this movie.

Body double's idea might have originated from the movie "Flash Dance" where the word became famous due to Jennifer Beals using a body double to do the dancing scenes.

Beautifully shot around some of the most luscious places in Southern California, the movie is a eye candy to watch. If the plot was better fleshed out it would have been even better.

One of the Hollywood classic that deserves a watch by all cult classic fans.
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Brilliantly Done
sunznc28 September 2012
This has always been a favorite of mine. I haven't read any other reviews here so I don't know how other people feel about this.

Let me say that I live in Los Angeles and I personally feel that this film captured LA in the 80's very well, much like the Jane Fonda film "The Morning After".

Now, I am saying that the film is brilliantly done not that everything in it is brilliant. I personally didn't dislike the scenes Brian De Palma wasn't happy about. I view the film with an artistic eye but I also view it with an acknowledgment that it captures a certain loneliness that I've seen here in LA. I've met women similar to Gloria Revelle. It captures that isolation people can find themselves in here and that is punctuated perfectly with the slightly dreamy, yearning music.

The lighting is beautiful, the acting is excellent by everyone in the film and the way the film is is beautiful to look at. I think critics of this film are forgetting that this is cinema. It's art. I think most people will want this in their collection. I hope people can appreciate it and that they'll like it.
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De Palma Double Bubble, Toil and Trouble.
Spikeopath22 February 2014
Body Double is directed by Brian De Palma, he also co-writes the screenplay with Robert J. Avrech. It stars Craig Wasson, Melanie Griffith, Gregg Henry, Deborah Shelton, Guy Boyd and Dennis Franz. Music is by Pino Donaggio and cinematography by Stephen H. Burum.

Brian De Palma continued his crusade to push buttons of the sensitive whilst homaging his hero Alfred Hitchcock, with this cheeky, garish, sleazy thriller. Even when moving away from Hitch like movies, he created a storm with Scarface (1983), so the critics of 1984 wondered if a return to suspense thriller territory would put the director back on an even cinematic keel? Not a bit of it! The reaction to Body Double was ridiculously over the top, apparently a misogynistic homage to the porn industry, with exploitation gore thrown in for good (bad) measure, Body Double was the devil's spawn in the eyes of critics. The public? Not so much, film was a sure fire hit at the box office.

Of course today it seems all very tame, where not even a simulated drilling killing can raise the temperature of the audience, or that frank sexual language and bare bodies no longer makes cinema goers blush. On reflection now it's easy to view De Palma's movie as a visionary piece of work, a film gently poking the ribs of Hollywood and the MPAA, and as was always the case with his 70s and 80s work, he was a director who easily elicited a response from his audience. And with his box of cinematic tricks still impressive before he became over reliant on them, Body Double is a fascinatingly lurid viewing experience.

That it's Vertigo and Rear Window spliced together is a given, but that doesn't make it a bad film, besides which it bears the De Palma stamp as well, undeniably so. Plot finds Jake Scully (Wasson), a struggling actor with claustrophobia, thrust into a world of murder, obsession, deceit and paranoia, for when he house sits for a newly acquired friend, he spies a sexy lady through the telescope apparently being stalked by an odd looking Native American. To reveal more would spoil the fun of anyone watching for the first time, but suffice to say that Jake has entered the realm where neo-noir protagonists wander around wondering how and why they are in this mess.

It's pulpy and pappy, but in the best ways possible, and unlike many other films made by directors who ventured into similar territory, it's never boring (hello Sliver). Cast are appropriately cartoonish or animated, the twists fun if not hard to see coming, and with De Palma's visual panache cosying up nicely with Donaggio's musical score, Body Double is fine entertainment brought to us by a director with a glint in his eye. 8/10
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Audacious, sleazy, insanely inventive thriller
fertilecelluloid17 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
It's amazing what Brian De Palma managed to get away with in the 80's. This audacious thriller, which launches itself off "Vertigo", is insanely inventive, incredibly well shot (by Stephen Burum, who also photographed "Rumble Fish"), beautifully scored (by Pino Donaggio) and very well acted by Craig Wasson, Greg Henry, Melanie Griffith, Dennis Franz and Al Israel. The sleazy plot, which is a superb excuse to showcase eye-popping eroticism, lurid violence and surreal hallucinations, is predictable but such fun to watch unravel. Borrowing bits from "Rear Window", "Vertigo" and his own "Dressed To Kill", the film becomes a heady amalgam of virtuoso cinematic tricks and ridiculously complex plotting. Despite there being a shining roster of great, twisted characters such as Greg Henry's "Sam", the stand-out character for me is The Indian, a frightening, rubber-faced, snarling symbol of fear and intimidation who is also a filthy pervert who gets his jollies watching women undress. The shot of him working on the satellite dish towards the third act of the movie is one of cinema's finest. De Palma has such an interesting way of conveying information and he clearly relishes the possibilities of the medium. The film did not do good business at the box office and was subjected to the wrath of ugly, fat feminists during its theatrical release, but while those old heifers have aged and fattened, De Palma's "Body Double" has achieved cult status and retained its brilliance. In closing, I'd like to take a moment to single out the gorgeous Deborah Shelton for her terrific contribution to this film's aesthetic success. The impossibly delicious object of many a pervert's misguided affections delivered one of exploitation cinema's hottest performances by simply being Deborah and taking a phallic drill bit between her legs like few have before her. God bless Ms. Shelton and receive her into paradise.
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One Of My Favorite DePalma Films
EVOL66612 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
BODY DOUBLE is one of the more under-appreciated films that I've seen. It's not rare or hard-to-find, but seems to slip under many film-fans radar. DePalma is a gifted director who's done several very good films, this one being near the very top of my list. Anyway...BODY DOUBLE is a psycho-sexual murder mystery/thriller dealing with subjects such as murder, voyeurism, claustrophobia - plus it has a cool Indian-killer guy! Plenty of twists and turns in the plot, without becoming too disjointed or self-indulgent. A fun, strange film that I try to re-visit every couple of months. BODY DOUBLE is my second favorite DePalma film, right after SCARFACE. Definitely Recommended - 8.5/10
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parody of what?
lazur-215 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This whole film is so predictable and unbelievable that I file it with the "Airplane" series. Parody of Hitchcock? At best, it's a parody of itself, and perhaps unconsciously so. The horribly dated disco and porno scenes only make it worse. The 'thrills' are jokes, and the 'mystery' is solved by any thinking viewer in the first few minutes. Are we supposed to accept "The Indian' as a character that any real witness would describe in any way other than: "He had a rubber mask on" ? The set-up of the witness right at the beginning is so painfully obvious that I watched the film only in hope that I was wrong; the murder itself would be a joke if only it were actually funny, and the witness's reaction to the murder is absurdly inappropriate. If you want to paint someone into corner to have them not call the police, it has to be better than merely that they don't want to admit peeping with a telescope. This is murder , after all, let's respect that with some adequate explanations. That also applies to motive: You don't kill your beautiful young rich wife for the "insurance" ; rich people don't need life insurance. If anything, you just kill them for their -money-, straight up. But why, in the first place? I need a real motive, folks. Actually , I need a real film, which this is not.
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Hitchcock to the next level
jellopuke12 March 2018
Starts off as a total rip off/homage to Vertigo/Rear Window/Dial M for Murder then goes off to another plane and becomes something more, like a crazy Tales from the Crypt comic with a dash of Hollywood magic exposure. Great fun!
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a personal favorite
witster1811 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
THis film really divides audiences. It's hard to pinpoint why some people don't like this film. It could be the deliberate directing approach... or maybe it's the terrible performance from the girl who gets a drill through the chest(she deserved it with those terrible lines). Either way, this fine example of film noir evokes strong emotions from its' audience. The camera work is fantastic, and DePalma knows exactly how to keep us in suspense.. infidelity, claustrophobia, and murder.

Body Double hits on every emotion. At times it's funny, others it's dead serious,... but it rides this weird roller-coaster in terms of production with a strange combination of B movie campiness and A movie quality.

Prepare to root for the underdog, peer at the naked ladies, and submerse yourself in an intriguing murder mystery.

Body Double is not an excellent film... but the mystery, the cinematography, and the odd feel of this film are more than enough to keep the first time viewer glued to the screen. Pino Donaggios music is haunting and compliments the movie perfectly. Even the bass-synthesizer stuff is perfect. THis is a film that everyone should see at least once. Criminally under-rated because of its' trashy- tone. This is the kind of trash I don't mind digging through. Awesome movie!


You'll like this if you liked:Body Heat, Blood Simple, Fargo, The Morning After, or Shattered. It's better than all of those save Fargo, but even then it's close. Dang this trash looks good.
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De Palma's slick peepshow.
lost-in-limbo16 May 2006
Jake is a washed up actor who walks in on his girlfriend with another man and so it means his got to find another place to live. Plus he is fired from the vampire movie he was involved in because that of his phobia of confined places. So, when Jake is checking about for some acting gigs he meets another struggling actor who offers him place to house sit and it does have its perks. Through a telescope he can spy on his neighbours, which through one window a lady goes through the same strip routine every night. Jake becomes extremely obsessed with the woman and he gets caught up in a seedy web of intrigue when he witness the woman being killed.

De Palma goes all out on this occasion with his obsession with Hitchcock and the master's films that are under the spotlight in this voyeuristic thriller are "Rear Window" and "Vertigo". While, there might be elements borrowed from those films, De Palma still brings to the party his own distinguishable style and perspective. I've enjoyed most of his works and this one joins the ranks. Well, maybe one of the lesser ones since I was a bit iffy on it at times. I'll admit - it's pure trash, but technically it's done so well with many fashionable touches worked into this artistic piece of steamy erotica that I just found it hard to take my eyes off it. Some of those facets that make a mark is the camera-work that's handle rather silkily with it's many gliding shots and innovative angels. The taunting score rallies up the tension remarkably well and actually generates an alarming awe. There are some odd, kinky and down and out heart stopping images like that of the infamously lurid drill scene and a couple of downright claustrophobic build ups. The female cast involving Melanie Griffith and most definitely Deborah Shelton are desirably seductive. Craig Wasson as the down on his luck actor Jake was solid, but it's the freaky villain of the piece "The Indian" that will catch your eye and make you real nervous. Also there's a neat cameo role by Dennis Franz as a director, which is a neat treat. The over-the-top story tightly constructs itself around a complicated web of twists and turns involving sleaze and murder, but when it came to its climax it felt convoluted and rushed. The confusing revelation doesn't seem as effective and clever as it may think. Hollywood even comes under fire with it being mock with De Palma using the porn industry to do so. Anyhow, remember to shut your blinds, as who knows maybe someone is peering into your window right now. ;)

"Body Double" is a flawed, but an interesting concept that I could not help but go with the flow.
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Suspense! Originality! Uninhibited yet Tasteful Sexuality! Marvelous Movie!
mcilhany25 December 2005
Body Double is my favorite De Palma film, and he sure is one hec of a director! Even now, he continues to impress me with his breadth and wide variety of ideas and interpretations. I absolutely love this film, the acting is marvelous- the suspense and the Hitchcock element along with the sassy,cool sense of humor that's so unique to Melanie Griffith all put together into this one-of-a-kind film. It is so unfortunate that anyone would claim this movie is just a "copy", or "stealing" or attempt of a copy of Hitchcock. I adore Hitchcock and this movie if anything, pays real tribute to him in the sense that it had it's own feel...Hitchcock style.. but definitely it's own thing. And I mean jeez, what so wrong about emulating a style anyway? Hitchcock is dead, so unless people want to be stuck watching old, old movies the rest of their life they'd better begin to open their minds. If anything Hitchcock's memory could only be strengthened by a movie like this...modern, but reminiscent of the older styles. It's a combination of styles. It sure makes me think about Hitchcock when I see it, and yet opens new doorways laced with De Palma flavor.

Craig Wasson is awesome. Totally believable in his role, and Gregg Henry (who is also to be seen briefly, but distinctly, in Scarface) is fabulous and convincing as well. I love how relatively unknowns were cast in this movie. Deborah Shelton is so beautiful, almost too beautiful for words. I remember seeing her in Dallas the TV show and was always surprised she wasn't absolutely everywhere. But ultimately that's part of what makes this movie so special... it's full of treats and surprises. I'd tell more, but I really don't want to spoil it... you have to see it.

One thing though, if you are uncomfortable with movies with sex and sexuality in them, this movie may not be for you. However, this movie is very tasteful in my opinion; the main characters who engage in sexual activity come across as sensitive, human, and caring. The sexual aspect of this particular movie is in my opinion exhilarating (how it should be :)) and actually quite charming.

I saw this movie many, many years ago for the first time and it has stuck with me throughout the years as one of the most unique, eye catching, and successfully formulated movies ever.

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Wonderful thriller.
HumanoidOfFlesh16 May 2004
Brian De Palma's "Body Double" is one of my favourite films made in early 80's.This memorable thriller obviously borrows some elements from Alfred Hitchcock's "Verigo" and "Rear Window",but it's still entertaining and delightfully sleazy.There are some wonderful moments of style-particularly the Indian's attack on stunningly beautiful Deborah Shelton seen through the binoculars.This scene is truly nerve-wracking and gruesome.The acting is excellent and the score by Pino Donaggio is great."Body Double" carries the audience through a convoluted plot,making the story quite believable and captivating.It's surely not as good as De Palma's earlier releases like "Sisters","Carrie" or "Dressed to Kill",but I wasn't disappointed.Check it out,if you're a fan of murder mysteries.
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Ageless !!!
Aziz Saya6 November 2012
Often when people write reviews of older films one of the criteria that comes up is how well the film has aged, this film was released in US just one day before i was born and i would consider myself lucky if i age half as well, theme of voyeurism that this film deals with will remain relevant till the end of the human race. It is stirs up those element of the human psychic without been preachy or should i say in Hollywood style . So, we have lots of skin show, an excellently done murder sequence, a hero that just about manages to set things right and a "Eargasmic" background theme composed by Pino Donaggio. So grab the popcorn & enjoy Jake Scully's ride !
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Why all the hate for DePalma?
fnord_one17 July 2012
Of course this isn't a masterpiece, but it is a well constructed thriller. I find it funny that the negative reviews all seem to have figured out the mystery early. Thou protested too much; I don't buy into their "it's too dated" smack. The time and place of this Hollywood is imaginative and really cool. If one needs historical verisimilitude, watch documentaries. This is a fun ride with all the obsessions of DePalma's work (and Hitch, and Powell's Peeping Tom); voyeurism, etc. The fun is in the details and the affect of scenes, not their logic. Since when does an effective thriller need hard cold logic? I've just watched it again on cable and all the haters are just people looking to hate. DePalma's films are always better than the average B-movie, even when they're B-movies. Also, he can shoot; visually always a master.
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