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Perfect Strangers (1984)

A hit-man tries to seduce the mother of a child who witnessed his most recent kill.


Larry Cohen


Larry Cohen

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Anne Carlisle ... Sally
Brad Rijn ... Johnny
John Woehrle John Woehrle ... Fred
Matthew Stockley Matthew Stockley ... Matthew
Stephen Lack ... Lieutenant Burns
Ann Magnuson ... Malda
Zachary Hains Zachary Hains ... Moletti
Otto von Wernherr Otto von Wernherr ... Private Detective
Kitty Summerall Kitty Summerall ... Joanna
Steven Pudenz Steven Pudenz ... Man in Cemetary
Bill Fagerbakke ... Carl
Bruce Jerreau Bruce Jerreau ... Manny
Leo Shawah Leo Shawah ... Carlos
Joe Chiaramonte Joe Chiaramonte ... Murder Victim
Conrad Bergschneider ... Carousel Operator (as Conrad O. Bergschneider)


A hit-man tries to seduce the mother of a child who witnessed his most recent kill.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


When they get you when they want you they can lead you... anywhere! See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller


R | See all certifications »






Release Date:

16 November 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Blind Alley See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hemdale See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


References E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) See more »


Im a Shadow (On the Walls of the City)
Written by Michael Minard
Performed by Michael Minard
See more »

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User Reviews

All it takes is one slip-up.
20 July 2007 | by lost-in-limboSee all my reviews

After a Mafia hit man kills his target in a back alley, he looks up to notice a toddler has seen what he has done. When the mother comes out and notices the body, she goes about things as if her son didn't see anything. Under pressure by the Mafia to do something about it, he befriends the mother of the child to see how much the kid can put together of what he saw. The pressure starts to build as the Mafia is constantly on his back to rid the kid, while the boy's estrange father is trying his best to get back into the child and mother's life and the police are getting suspicious.

Style and mood features strongly in director/writer Larry Cohen's understated low-budget noir-like thriller. It's an atmospheric nail-biter in the old tradition of showing little in the way of explosive currents, but rather developing on the tight and emotionally realistic situation captured in the authentically haunting and forcible New York locations. Cohen's serviceable direction clearly cooks up an eerie presence from its shadowy urban backdrop that works favourably with Dwight Dixon's lingering smoky jazz cues throughout the stirring score and Paul Glickman's prominently moody cinematography complements it all nicely. The editing is swiftly concise. Even with its cheap origins, it has a solid professional ambiance that goes onto make it one highly effective presentation. Cohen's cynically terse script swoops right into the social commentary, as on today's menu is a feminist stance, children caught between feuding parents and the exploitation of their naïve innocence. There are few offbeat touches, but for most part the premise is played straight, as it did lack the sharp-laced wit we've come to expect. This dry touch only heightened the taut nature, which leads to a potent conclusion. Sometimes holes can show up and at times the pacing can succumb to stodgy handling, but these moments are a minor fracture to the overall feel. Anne Carlisle's soothing performance is that of elegance, but also burning conviction as the mother. In a disquieting and subtle turn, Brad Rijn perfectly portrays his laconic character with a lurking menace that might drop his guard. Mathew Stockley as the child definitely passes the muster. In short, but extremely quirky parts are Ann Magnuson (as a feminist man hater) and Stephen Lack (stuck up police Lieutenant).

Re-watching this interesting and sorely overlooked Cohen entry, goes on to prove what a versatile filmmaker he is.

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