145. Double Exposure (1983)
Director: William Byron Hillman
Writer: William Byron Hillman
From: Pure Terror
A photographer suffering from extreme headaches and nightmares fears that he might be the serial killer operating in his city.
We open with a cop working undercover, in drag, as a prostitute. As he gets to his car, he’s stabbed in the throat and dies. His two partners get chewed out by the chief for screwing up, particularly the female cop. She hears complaints about how the chief should never have put a woman on this case and yadda yadda yadda. Put those cops in your back pocket because, while they’ll pop up again, they aren’t part of the movie. Hold tight to that lazy ‘80’s misogyny, though! You’re going to dipping back into that again and again.
We cut to a credit sequence that looks like crap of our protagonist, Adrian, running along a path. He’s a professional photographer who keeps telling his shrink about terrible nightmares he has. As he’s leaving his appointment, he corners a woman, Mindy, in the elevator, and is just a fucking creep. He keeps bugging her for a date even after she’s given him the brush-off, and it turns out he’s blocked her car in with his. It’s supposed to be charming, but it’s a total “get your mace” moment.
I’m not going to detail the plot, cause there is none. Adrian and Mindy start dating, but then she just disappears from the entire middle of the movie. Adrian’s brother, BJ, is a stunt driver who’s lost his arm and leg in a recent accident and is in financial trouble. We see Adrian murdering his models in unduly complicated ways, but then it turns out he only dreamed it, but then they’re actually dead in the way he dreamed it.
In the end—yes, I’m skipping everything, but absolutely nothing of consequence—Adrian takes a trip with Mindy in his RV, worrying that he is in fact the killer, BJ tells the cops where Adrian is, and then goes down to find Adrian himself. Mindy gets stabbed on the beach and, twist! BJ’s the real killer, re-enacting Adrian’s dreams, taking pictures of the corpses, and planting them at Adrian’s studio so he’d get the blame. All because when they were kids, BJ could hear their mom having sex through the wall so all women, particularly Adrian’s girlfriends and models are teases and whores that need to die. As he’s about to kill Adrian, Mindy runs up and stabs BJ in the neck with a broken beer bottle. Cops show up and everything is okay. THE END.
This one sucks! It’s so bad and it’s boring on top of it. The movie just keeps going. There’s no energy, no point, no conflict. It’s constantly pulling you back and forth: he’s the murderer, it was a dream, but the person’s actually dead, oop! Twist ending that doesn’t really work! And the picture is misogynistic. All the women are viewed through this leering, bullying lens. It’s not something I can detail or a set of examples I can list, the whole thing just feels like someone behind the camera is just repeating, “fucking bitches” over and over—like the movie shares the attitude of the murderer.
That should be enough to write this movie off, but let’s say I’m just being PC. There’s no driving force to the movie. Adrian never feels like the cops are closing in and he’s not even sure he’s the killer, so that’s not generating any tension. His victims literally pop up just for him to kill them so there’s no concern over those characters, cause they’re not characters. The cops aren’t part of this movie so their failure to find any clues doesn’t matter. All we’re left with is Adrian himself who we’re told to think is the killer, only he’s not a charming or interesting character, let alone monster. He’s neither Patrick Bateman nor Hannibal Lecter, but we’re stuck with him for 95 teeth-achingly dull minutes.
One scene did make me laugh-out-loud. One scene was good. In the middle, the exact middle of the movie, Adrian goes into his studio, looks at reflections of himself, and has a shouting match with them about whether he should call the cops. He spins away from the mirror and screams, “NOOOO!” It gave me quite a chortle. Otherwise, a real stinker.
For some reason, IMDB lists this as a comedy. It’s not. It’s just bad. It’s not even funny bad. The movie didn’t offend and anger me the way Cavegirl did, but it is exasperatingly dull. Skip it.