MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -3 1/2

The new horror thriller, COPYCAT, stars Sigourney Weaver as a freaked-out psychiatrist, Dr. Helen Hudson, who has become a famous expert on serial killers. She attracts the attention of one of them, and, immediately following a lecture, he tries to hang her in the women's restroom. She barely survives and becomes a paranoid, pill-popping alcoholic afraid to leave her luxurious San Francisco apartment for 13 months. Although her attacker (Harry Connick Jr.) is captured, another young wannabe killer is waiting in the wings to become famous. With sophisticated computer techniques, he picks young women as prospective victims, then proceeds to copy all the famous serial killers. Detective M. J. Monahan (Holly Hunter) recruits Dr. Hudson to help her solve the almost daily murders the killer commits. Thrill-seekers will, no doubt, flock to COPYCAT, but even they will probably have to cover their faces for some scenes.

Mixing a talented cast with a riveting suspense story used to be a winning recipe for a box office hit. Now, Hollywood seems to think blood and gore will make it better, but actually they only obscure a good story. The gruesome closeups of throats slashed, point-blank shootings, pools of blood and sheer terror on tortured victims' faces are ceaseless. Photographs of victims beaten, cut up and shot, their bodies in grotesque positions, always with breast nudity or near nudity, are flashed on the screen over and over. Filthy language adds to the disgusting content. Dr. Hudson's drinking and drug use are not condoned. In fact, they just illustrate that she is a cynical, isolated and frightened woman. Detective Monahan advises the psychiatrist to take precautions and pray. She and her partner (Dermot Mulroney) are a refreshing contrast to her. They care for each other, but he admits to Dr. Hudson, who is attracted to him, that until he understands himself better he does not want to become involved with anyone. Although there are some references to sexual assaults, no sexual acts are shown. In an interview, the jailed killer quotes the Bible and compares himself to Jesus. As a good chef knows the difference between garbage and gourmet, Hollywood should learn the difference between suspense and gruesome, graphic violence.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Warner Bros., 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91522

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (13) times - Mild 9, Moderate 4

Obscene Language: Many (24) times - F-word 16, s-word 5, other 3

Profanity: Several (8) times - Regular 7, Exclamatory 1

Violence: Many times - Mostly Severe (2 graphic hanging scenes; point-blank shootings, brutal beating, closeups of throat slashings; victims' heads in plastic bags while tortured until dead; graphic photos of murder victims; decapitation implied)

Sex: None

Nudity: Many times (breast nudity in photos of victims); Near nudity (girls in bikinis)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Killer makes crude remarks about women

Drugs: Several times (pill-popping, brandy-drinking doctor)

Other: Killer quotes Bible, compares himself to Jesus

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

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