Why is it that when a really good horror film comes around it instantly gets branded as a psychological thriller? The same thing happened with Silence of the Lambs. American Psycho is a fantastic horror film that is so beautifully shot the only film I can equate it to is Leon: The Professional, my favorite film of all time. So, that rockets American Psycho up my list of favorite horror films. What really makes this film exemplary is it’s a film that has something to say. I also really enjoy the ambiguous ending leaving. The casting, visuals, music works perfectly together creating something that is truly terrifying. I was surprised that this film is lowly rated scoring only a 67% on Rotten Tomatoes as it is deserving of much more than that.
American Psycho takes us through the life of Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), a wealthy Wall-Street investment banker during the late 1980’s. Bateman takes through his daily routine, exercise, skin care, work and murder. Bateman’s life revolves around trying to impress his shallow, materialistic friends and coworkers. Constantly in competition with on another over status, with the ability to get reservations at the trendiest restaurants, who has the nicest business cards and accounts held. Due to jealousy Bateman lures a coworker Paul Allen (Jared Leto) back to his apartment where he murders him with an ax. He disposes of the body and plants a false message on Paul Allen’s answering machine saying he left for London for a couple of days after taking a suitcase full of Paul Allen’s cloths. Bateman’s murders start escalating when he comes under the scrutiny of Detective Donald Kimball (William Defoe), who is looking into Paul Allen’s disappearance at the behest of his fiance. Bateman’s behavior continues to grow more violent and erratic, with Bateman being fully aware that he can longer control his urges. Culminating with him breaking up with his fiance Evelyn Williams (Reese Witherspoon) and going on a rampage….
American Psycho has a lot to say about consumerism and materialism. Which does in a very engaging and thought-provoking manner. I have to wonder how close the source material, American Psycho being based a book of the same name written by Bret Easton Ellis. This is a film that wants to be seen and begs to be discussed and dissected by friends over drinks.
As interesting as its themes may be, what I really love is the visuals in this film. American Psycho is just beautiful to look at. Bateman’s stark modern apartment, that’s so void of personality that represents Bateman perfectly. With so many memorable shots in the film, it’s really hard to describe how well shot this film is. You’ll just have to see it for yourself.
The acting is world-class, which with the cast they have should not come as a surprise. Christian Bale is perfect in this role, his performance alone could sell this film if it needed to. But it doesn’t because this film is packed with heavy hitters, William Defoe, Reese Witherspoon, and Josh Lucas. Also, Matt Ross who I can’t see without hearing Laura Kenny’s voice screaming “Emery” from Rose Red. My only issue that William Defoe is in so little of the film, which is a really weak problem to have.
Final Thoughts, go see it. Or don’t, but I really suggest you do. Especially if you haven’t seen it yet. American Psycho is a film that sticks with you and you feel its effects on you for a while after viewing. It leaves you with questions to which there are no good answers, leaving a sense of dread hanging over you. Which is what a horror film should do, leave you with lasting negative emotions as that is at the end of the day what they do. American Psycho is built on the sense of dread and revulsion, but there is no catharsis for you, or for Bateman. 10/10