Frenzy (1971)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Thriller, Detective Film, Psychological Thriller  |   Release Date - Jun 21, 1972 (USA)  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Lucia Bozzola

Alfred Hitchcock's penultimate feature Frenzy was not only the master's first British-based production in two decades, but also a return to creepy form after his rocky late '60s period. Mixing black comedy and Hitchcock's most gruesome violence since Psycho, Frenzy's story of a rapist-murderer and the wrong man accused of the crime covers classic Hitchcock territory of violent sexual deviance and the thin line between innocence and guilt. Though the atmosphere is periodically lightened by police inspector Alec McCowen's close encounters with his wife's "gourmet" cuisine, Hitchcock also takes advantage of the loosened strictures on film content to stage a horrific rape and strangulation 15 minutes into the film. This early revelation of the killer only increases the suspense, setting the stage for a macabre struggle in a potato truck between murderer and corpse, and the famous tracking shot that moves away from the killer's door (as he invites his next victim inside), down the apartment house stairs and across the street. Shot in London with a British cast, Frenzy's turn away from Hollywood glamour further emphasizes the horror that lurks beneath bland normality. An international success, Frenzy returned Hitchcock to Hollywood's good graces, but he would complete only one more film before his 1980 death.