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Skillfully directed by Jon Amiel, COPYCAT ($20) remains a riveting film more than a decade after its release, and one of my favorites of late 1990’s. Despite my appreciation, and that of the critics, COPYCAT a film that has probably never gotten kind of the popular recognition it deserves. COPYCAT is an intelligently conceived entertainment that was one that never dumbs things down for a teen audience chomping on popcorn at the local multiplex. Another thing that sets COPYCAT apart from typical fare are the standout performances from Sigourney Weaver and Holly Hunter. Although both actresses were cast against type, they make the most of their respective roles and deliver on the money performances. Harry Connick, Jr. also makes quite an impression in COPYCAT and is especially creepy in his supporting role of incarcerated serial killer, who is the lynchpin to the entire story.

COPYCAT stars Sigourney Weaver as Dr. Helen Hudson, criminal psychologist and noted expert on serial killers. After a personal encounter with serial killer Daryll Lee Cullum (Harry Connick, Jr.), Helen is left a virtual basket case, extremely agoraphobic and unable to leave her apartment. When a new serial killer begins haunting the streets of San Francisco, homicide detective M. J. Monahan (Holly Hunter) decides to avail herself of the expertise of a very broken criminal psychologist. As it turns out, the new serial killer has been copying the crimes of the Boston Strangler, as a means of getting Helen’s attention. After presenting his calling card, the serial killer switches modus operandi to that of the Hillside Strangler, then Son of Sam as a means of keeping Helen fully engaged… and making it clear that his deadly game is being played entirely for her benefit. The cast of COPYCAT also features Dermot Mulroney, William McNamara, J.E. Freeman, Will Patton, John Rothman and Shannon O'Hurley.

Warner Home Video has made COPYCAT available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. The 1080p presentation is more than serviceable, but doesn’t standout on any significant way. COPYCAT looks good on Blu-ray, displaying respectable sharpness and image detail. Long and medium shots appear filtered and a tads soft. However, close-ups come across as more crisply defined, in addition to showing good texturing and a better level of fine detail. Colors exhibit subdued saturation, with strongly accented reds. Flesh tones generally appear true to life. Blacks are quite accurate and the whites appear stable. Contrast is smooth, however shadow detail proves less than impressive. The elements from which COPYCAT has been mastered are free from major defects. Modest grain is present in the image.

COPYCAT is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Much of COPYCAT plays like a talky police procedural drama that features an appropriately mixed sound design, however there are more intense moments that are significantly more atmospheric and potent, but overall, the sound isn’t particularly directional. Thanks to the lossless encode, sound effects tend to make quite an impact, while the soundtrack’s musical component is very well represented. Dialogue is cleanly reproduced and maintains complete intelligibility. French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English and Spanish subtitles.

The interactive menu gives one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the extras, which have been ported from the DVD release. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with director Jon Amiel. A Theatrical Trailer closes out the extras.

COPYCAT is a smart and entertaining thriller that benefits from good writing, tight direction, excellent casting and strong performances. The Blu-ray presentation is more than serviceable, but doesn’t standout. COPYCAT gets a recommendation for the film itself, but less so for its hi-def presentation.


Copycat [Blu-ray] (1995)


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2011 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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