If you’re a sucker for serial killer movies, then here’s another one, just for you. Anamorph is a refreshing addition to this oversaturated genre. And I’m not just talking about the distinctive visual style but also about the story. It somehow manages to be both familiar and authentic. The cast did a wonderful job. Speedman, Rebhorn, and Stormare gave these subdued and quite believable performances creating this surreal vibe. Of course, Dafoe ran the show here. The cinematography was simply mesmerizing and it reminded me of another movie involving murder mystery: The Oxford Murders.
And while the latter chose a much cleaner look, Anamorph has that dark and fucked up vibe, almost crossing into the horror genre with it. Its biggest flaw is reliance on gimmicks to do all the heavy lifting. Although you have this unique approach and decent main story, you still need much more in order to make a great thriller. Saw and Se7en are great examples. I also have to mention Resurrection starring Christopher Lambert.
Stan Aubray is a police detective who after several years of pursuit finally caught his man. The vicious serial killer called Uncle Eddie is finally behind bars. Still haunted by this case, Stan retires and goes on to teach forensic psychology. Several years pass and he slowly starts recovering. However, this is exactly the time when dead bodies start showing up again. It seems that Stan will have to get involved once more.
If you’ve seen one serial killer versus detective movie, you’ve seen them all. So, you simply know that the detective in Anamorph is going to have a drinking problem. Probably caused by the death of his wife and the viciousness of the crimes. Willem Dafoe was able to channel this character so well that I have no complaints with this familiar approach. Good production values make for some pretty nasty murder scenes, so you better be ready for them. One of them is particularly macabre, involving different body parts and other stuff. So, about thirty minutes in and we get this sort of thing, nice. I mean, this is that type of movie after all.
The atmosphere is dark and brooding. And gets more and more discomforting as the movie progresses. I just wish the ending was better. It’s not bad, don’t get me wrong, I was just expecting something else. The title of this psychological thriller is derived from Anamorphosis, an ancient painting technique where there are actually two pictures on one canvas. I always like when movies like this have something authentic about them. And Anamorph milks the shit out of its artistic approach. It gave another dimension to the movie making it more sinister. And it also set it apart from the rest of the similar movies. On that note, if you’re looking for more check out our Rabbit Reviews selection of Serial Killer Movies.
Director: Henry Miller
Writers: Henry Miller, Tom Phelan
Cast: Willem Dafoe, Scott Speedman, James Rebhorn, Peter Stormare, Don Harvey
Fun Stuff: Dafoe turned down the role initially but reconsidered after a chance meeting with producer Marissa McMahon on a flight from Los Angeles.