Director: Jacques Tourneru
Genre: Thriller/ Horror
Runtime: 70 minutes
Starring: Simone Simon, Kent Smith, Tom Conway, Jane Randolph, Jack Holt, Alan Napier, Alec Craig, Elizabeth Russel, Donald Kerr, Dynamite
Description: An American man (Kent Smith) marries a Serbian immigrant (Simone Simon) who fears that she will turn into the cat person of her homeland's fables if they are intimate together.
Review: Val Lewton, the producer of this film, said ‘the power of the camera to generate suspense lies in its power to suggest’. You can definitely see that in “Cat People”. From the beginning of the movie there are little yet meaningful happenings that tell you that something bad is going to happen. And when it happens, it’s the suggestion of what’s happening that builds the tension.
The omen that something is wrong with Irena is that she has an extraordinary relationship with cats. A drawing of a panther, animals in a pet store that go wild when she enters, an aggressive cat and a canary that is afraid of her and dies. Irena’s house is also filled with cat related items and she enjoys the sound of the roaring cats in the nearby zoo. The movie tends to drag by paying too much attention to all those omens for a large part of the film. And the subplot of Irena’s marriage with Oliver not working also gets way too much attention. The movie is short, but it takes way too long before something interesting actually happens. Sorry to say, this movie is a little bit boring for a movie in the genre thriller/ horror.
When there is something exciting going on (which is in only three scenes), you don’t really see anything. Only through shadows and sound. This does work, because of the power to suggest.
“Cat People” has an interesting story, but it’s not executed that way. I can hardly call this a horror film. The movie takes too long to become exciting. The scenes that do have threat in them where filmed very well though, effective use of dark and light. I think a lover of classics will like it, a lover of horror probably won’t.
Rating: 2/ 5