Short Review: Eyes of Laura Mars (Kershner, 1978)


Eyes of Laura Mars (Kershner, 1978)

IMDB Summary: Suddenly Laura Mars can see through the eyes of a serial killer as he commits his crimes. She contacts the police and with the aid of a police detective, tries to stop the killer. But first, they have to figure out who it is.

Eyes of Laura Mars has the type of horror kitsch that draws me in. Featuring elements like opening to Barbara Streisand’s “Prisoner” and elaborate sequences that focus on fashion photography accompanied by disco music, its time-specific elements and ludicrous nature cannot help but suck one in. There are a number of reasons that the film, even though it is not successful as horror, works. The characters, even the secondary ones, are rather well-rounded. It gives us a sense of the characters both as individuals and in their dynamic with Laura Mars (Faye Dunaway). Even the two models she regularly works with, Lulu and Michelle, are sympathetic. Most slasher films have flat characters that function and are presented as objects to later be killed. In fact, many sub-genre characters are purposely made unlikable just so the audience can look forward to their kill scene. Thankfully, this tactic is not employed here. The performances are also rather good. Tommy Lee Jones in an early role brings a great deal more than was needed as Lt. John Neville. Also standing out are Brad Dourif as Laura’s driver Tommy and Rene Auberjonois as Laura’a agent and friend Donald Phelps.

Entering the second half of the film is where it begins its descent into disappointment. Laura’s visions and her reaction to them become more than a little redundant. All of the relatively interesting conversation about violence in the mass media is dropped. Finally, the last 10 minutes dislodge any quality that came before with its twist ending. Making no sense and seemingly tacked on for impact, the film simply ends. Overall, it was well worth seeing, but the film had nothing exciting up its sleeve after a certain point.

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