Monday, October 3, 2011
A socially awkward, shut-in young woman (Sharon Stone, because who else would you cast as a socially awkward shut-in?) is assaulted and almost raped in the elevator of her apartment building. Despite the reassurances of her shrink (Ronny Cox), she is convinced that the rapist is still out to get her. Meanwhile, she meets with her friendly neighbor and his intense, crippled twin brother (both played by Steve Railsback!), getting entangled in some sort of power struggle going on between the two men. Then things really start to get weird.
Scissors is the kind of movie it's probably best to know little about before you see it, so I don't want to spoil too much of the story. The real gimmick of the film doesn't kick in until nearly half way, but as far as I can tell, every description of the film online gives it away as if it's the overall premise. Suffice it to say that the second half is mainly confined to one location, has a solid gimmick, and works in part because its not the direction the movie initially seems to be heading in.
Usually with these kinds of high concept thrillers, they try to get to the high concept right away, only to find out that it can't really sustain feature length. This usually results in the movie running out of steam and having to resort to endless subplots, distractions, plot twists, etc, to reach the 90 minute mark. (Just recently I saw The Perfect Host, which was extremely guilty in this regard.) So I think it's pretty nifty the way Scissors starts out as a different kind of thriller, before abruptly taking a left turn.
This is good, overwrought thriller material, with a story melodramatic and audacious to a degree worthy of DePalma, even if stylistically it is nowhere near his level. It's got psychodrama, sexual hysteria, creepy dolls, seriously over-elaborate set design, and a killer with a ridiculous motive and even more ridiculous master plan. So needless to say, this was right up my alley.
The cast is top notch (even the seemingly miscast Stone really gives it her all), working straightfaced with ludicrous material, and I think I kinda love that Railsback goes to great pains to play two distinct characters and (SPOILERS) both characters turn out to be completely extraneous to the plot, one a romantic interest and the other a red herring. Scissors is by no means a classic, but those with a taste for silliness played straight, like myself, will dig it.