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Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Amsterdamned (1988)




This is another movie where I wasn’t sure if I should put it in the Slasher marathon or not. It has moments that it feels like one but then at times feels like a Giallo or Police Procedural. It really could have fallen into any of the categories I’ve listed but I figured what the hell and stuck it here.

The movie opens up with a working girl getting molested by a cab driver and ending up dumped on the streets of Amsterdam. As she is collecting her stuff, her purse was dumped in the scuffle, she is attacked by a mysterious figure that rises from a nearby canal. Here we meet our detective, Eric Visser, who is the best they have on the force. He is called in to investigate the crime, which becomes crimes as more bodies start to drop. Early on he realizes that the killer is using scuba gear to sneak around the city unseen in the depths of the canals that criss cross it. With this as a starting point he is hot on the trail of the killer… or is he? Toss in an annoying daughter as comic relief, a couple red herrings, and a love interest in for some fun.

Before proceeding be warned there are some spoilers ahead. There were a lot of buzz about Amsterdamned which piqued my interest. This led me to tracking down a copy to watch. I really don’t get what all the excitement was about. It is a solid movie with a decent story but not the lost classic that many people claim it to be. The movie keeps you guessing and never gives too much away. The identity of the killer isn’t revealed until the very end, which is great. I hate it when a story reveals the identity of the killer too soon. But when we do find out who the killer is it is very disappointing. This is one of those flicks where they toss in an additional character at the end who the audience didn’t even know existed and make them the killer. I was left rather annoyed by this.

The movie does boast one of the best speed boat chases that I’ve seen since Striking Distance. Much mayhem ensues as Eric chases the killer thru the canals of Amsterdam and this includes some rather well designed and executed stunts. Here is where the movie feels much more like a Police Procedural or even an action film. I also want to mention that Amsterdamned boasts one of the most awkward sex scenes in the history of cinema. Not sure if it is the dubbing but it is awful to the point of almost being comedy. It might be my favorite and most memorable bit of the movie.

The best gag in the movie.
We do get a decent number of kills spread evenly across the duration. Though I was a bit disappointed in the quality of the kills. Most of them happen offscreen with the audience only seeing the results. Sure, there is a severed head, and a hanging hooker terrorizes the tourists, but I wanted and expected more. Compared to eighties Slasher movies or even the Giallos of the seventies this one is almost bloodless.

Can you see my confusion in categorizing the movie? It lacks the sleazy and nudity to fall firmly into Giallo territory. There is also too much focus on the kills to be a Police Procedural. I’m left with a killer that appears a random and murders people for some unknown motive only to disappear as quickly as they appeared. The movie spends enough time reveling in the kills, at least after that fact, that I stuck it in the Slasher genre. What is left is if I recommend it or not. If you managed your expectations and don’t buy into the hype, I think there is enough here to keep your attention for at least one watch. Though I can’t imagine ever needing to see it again.


© Copyright 2019 John Shatzer

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