Special Effects

1984

Action / Drama / Horror / Thriller

13
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 43%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 29%
IMDb Rating 5.3 10 1053

Keywords:   movie business, model, acting

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
May 01, 2017 at 12:07 PM

Director

Cast

Eric Bogosian as Neville
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
749.96 MB
1280*694
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 46 min
P/S 1 / 4
1.58 GB
1920*1040
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 46 min
P/S 0 / 3

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by BA_Harrison 3 / 10

Not very special.

Keefe Waterman (Brad Rijn) travels to New York to find his wife Mary-Jean (Zoë Lund), who has abandoned him and their young son to find fame and fortune as a movie actress. Mary-Jean, now going by the name of Andrea Wilcox, is none too pleased to see her husband, and escapes to the swanky pad of film director Christopher Neville (Eric Bogosian), who talks the woman into his bed. However, when the aspiring actress realises that Neville is filming their romp, she rejects him, which leads to the director strangling her to death.

The discovery of the strangled woman's body in her car on wasteland leads to the arrest of Keefe, but he is bailed out by Neville, who reveals that he is intending to make a film about the murder, with Keefe playing himself. All they need is someone to play Mary Jean. That person is Elaine Bernstein (also played by Lund), an exact double of the dead woman. The filming commences, with Neville planning to splice in the actual footage of the murder into his movie. His plan also involves setting up Keefe for an exciting final act in which the young man dies - for real!

Special Effects is B-movie director Larry Cohen's attempt at a sexy, sophisticated thriller al la Brian De Palma, a film that attempts to say something meaningful about the world of movie-making, in particular the way in which film-makers can use the medium to break down the boundaries between reality and make-believe. Perhaps if Cohen had employed better actors than Zoë Lund and Brad Rijn as his protagonists, the theme of blurring of illusion and real life might have been more effective, but at no point are his performers remotely believable. Eric Bogosian, as murderous director Christopher Neville, is a much better actor, but even he can't make this trite nonsense bearable, his character insufferable (he would have been more chilling had he been more charismatic).

True to his B-movie roots, Cohen ensures there's some nudity, sex and a modicum of violence, and one can't help but feel that, in trying to be stylish and classy, the director is punching way above his weight, and that things would have been much better had he just been out and out exploitative in his approach.

3.5/10, rounded down to 3 for the extremely intrusive and irritating synth score.

Reviewed by Quinoa1984 5 / 10

just because it's about trash doesn't mean it isn't trashy

Special Effects is kind of a serious parody, if that makes any sense, of what De Palma did back in the 80's (or perhaps Larry Cohen's work too), where a filmmaker becomes a murderer when he lets in a would-be actress to his home, films having sex with her and also films the act of death. But instead of going on the run or just hiding it and going on with his life, he decides to make a movie about this girl, using Keefe, the girl's husband (played by Brad Rijn), getting a police detective to be a consultant (because who needs to solve any crimes) and, via Keefe making a trip to the Salvation Army and her just happening to work there, a girl who with a hair change looks just like the dead Andrea Wilcox (both played by Zoe Lund of Ms 45 fame).

Eric Bogosian is the reason to see the movie, playing this nasty, brutal director with some level of... do we call it humanity? He sometimes plays it over the top, but not in a way where it chews the scenery. He is really there to be the best actor he can be, which is more than can be said of Lund (who is maybe half-good, not as Wilcox but as the 'new' Andrea, Elaine), and certainly not Rijn, who tellingly only made a few movies and is just terrible here as this angry, despondent husband.

Maybe the problem is that Cohen is just a bit too obvious with his satire, or maybe, in a way, not obvious enough. This should be really funny - once or twice I did laugh, more from the police detective's meddling - and when he does an actual sex scene with two characters it stops the movie dead in its tracks. Special Effects has a little fun with its premise, which is rather dark and takes not just from De Palma but liberally from Hitchcock (Vertigo, duh) and even Peeping Tom with the idea of a camera that, ahem, kills in its way. It also has a rather obnoxious 80's synth soundtrack, which could be fine in small doses but is laid over every scene like a cocaine-diddled cloak. And the horror scenes, when they come, are kind of shoddily filmed.

But, again, if you like Eric Bogosian, this is one of his better performances, and a good indication of what he would do later in the decade with Talk Radio.

Reviewed by Falconeer 4 / 10

A Chore To Sit Through

It seems like Larry Cohen was trying to emulate DePalma with this ambitious, but poorly realized knock off of "Body Double." Some nice sets and decent shots cannot change the fact that Zoe Tamerlis is the WORST actress ever captured on film. If you thought Bo Derek or Pia Zadora were bad actresses, then after seeing Zoe in THIS, those ladies will look like Kathryn Hepburn and Meryl Streep by comparison. Usually poor acting isn't too much of a distraction if the material is good, but every time Tamerlis speaks it is painful. Eric Bogasian and Brad Rijn fare much better. Larry Cohen has made so many great movies, mostly in the 1970's, which seemed to be his decade. Interestingly he made another film the same year as "Special Effects," called "Perfect Strangers," which is actually MUCH better than this one. Strangely it's not nearly as well-known, probably due to the fact that it isn't flashy, and loaded with sex and violence. You do get plenty of that in this film. My advice is to skip this one and seek out "Perfect Strangers" instead. This movie gave me a headache, and I feel like i lost some brain cells in the process.

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