SCISSORS may not be the ultimate bad Hitchcock imitation, but it's a tough act to beat. It's got birds, blondes, blades, rear windows, tall buildings, an evil shrink and freshman-level psychology.
Angie (Sharon Stone) is an owlish, 26-year-old virgin who's survived a rough childhood and now spends her free time mending broken dolls. Somehow, Angie's part-time stenography job pays the rent in her sumptuous downtown Chicago apartment complex, and one day she's nearly raped there by a
red-bearded stranger during a blare of pseudo-Bernard Herrman music. After fighting off the assailant with handy scissors, the shaken Angie seeks refuge with some neighbors she's never before met: handsome soap-opera actor Alex Morgan and his bitter, wheelchair-bound brother Cole. Fearful that
she's being stalked by the red-bearded stranger, Angie starts a timid romance with Alex but accidentally discovers that Cole's not crippled at all--the cad's been faking paraplegia to prey on his brother's sympathies.
All this is a bit tedious for the viewer, who should guess that Cole's no invalid from the moment the shifty-eyed guy first appears. Both Cole and Alex are played by one actor, the oft-misused Steve Railsback. Thanks to changes in makeup, inflection and body language, Alex looks vastly different
from Cole, but the non-identical twins turn out to have nothing at all to do with the plot; at one point Cole simply ends the charade and beats up his bewildered sibling before clearing out.
Meanwhile, Angie finally gets a work assignment in the high-rise residence of an urban developer, but when she shows up for work she finds a red-bearded, scissors-impaled corpse instead. Then the hapless stenographer discovers that she's trapped in the sprawling suite, in which every hefty object
is bolted to the floor so she can't break a window to call for help. There's no food or water, just the body, a chamber-of-commerce type multimedia show, and a talking raven whose dubious squawk goes "You killed him! You killed him!" The whole thing is the looniest setup since Wile E. Coyote
altered the desert landscape to catch the Roadrunner. And about as credible.
Writer-director Frank DeFelitta's oeuvre spans both screen and print, with novels like Audrey Rose and films like THE ENTITY. He knows a thing or two about chills but completely misapplies the tools of the trade here. Railsback's dual characters make for a red herring the size of a blue whale,
and Angie is being prepped to take the blame for an offscreen murder that's barely even tangential to the storyline. The way she unthinkingly turns the tables on the villain would better suit an Inspector Clouseau movie.
So thriller fans will see their expectations cut by SCISSORS, a particularly sharp disappointment because DeFelitta so obviously wants to copy the Master of Suspense. (Violence, profanity, sexual situations, adult situations, nudity.)
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