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Copycat (DVD Review)

24 Aug, 2008 By: David Greenberg


Prebook 8/27/08; Street 9/23/08
$26.98 DVD
Not rated
Stars Chloe Snyder, Mark Hengst, Andreas Beckett.

One of the points that is reiterated throughout director Andy Hurst's Copycat is that, in the twisted mind of serial killers, once they have committed a murder, they fall into a pattern, a particularly vicious cycle of almost compulsive behavior where the need to kill becomes insatiable, only relieved by more and more killing.

Given the public's ongoing — maybe media-driven — interest in serial killers and films about them, it almost begs the question whether the consistent stream of entries into this genre reflects or inspires the audience's seemingly insatiable taste for films of this nature.

Hurst and writer Ellis Walker aim high here. Perhaps they had in mind visions of David Fincher's accomplished, provocative and compelling Zodiac, which also explored the complex intellectual processes of the people involved in the hunt for a killer, those who can become almost victimized themselves, psychologically as opposed to those who are physically affected by the criminal.

The film, originally titled Diary of a Serial Killer (referring to the pages of the journal the killer leaves as clues) bears only a passing resemblance to 1995's Copycat, starring Sigourney Weaver and Holly Hunter. The story involves a vulnerable investigative journalist (Snyder) drawn into a game of cat and mouse with the serial killer.

Relentlessly grim, gory and unpleasant, the film is actually less of a conventional narrative and more of an excuse to produce gratuitously extended re-enactments depicting the exploits of some of the most notorious serial killers in our nation's history.

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