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Artisan Home Entertainment presents
Doppelganger (1993)

"Dr. Heller, it's me, it's Holly. Listen, she's back. She's back in L.A. I don't know what she wants now."
- Holly (Drew Barrymore)

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: February 20, 2003

Stars: Drew Barrymore
Other Stars: George Newbern, Dennis Christopher, Leslie Hope, Sally Kellerman
Director: Avi Nesher

MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, sexuality, and language
Run Time: 01h:44m:00s
Release Date: December 17, 2002
UPC: 012236133728
Genre: suspense thriller

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C D+C-C D-

DVD Review

Drew Barrymore went through a rough patch there in the late 1980s and early '90s. The days of starring roles in big hits like E.T. and Firestarter were gone. Hollywood success went to her head, and she spent most of her teens and early 20s in a drugged out haze, emerging periodically to star in a B-movie or two, most of them involving at least some nudity (her stint in Playboy in 1995 did little to improve her rep). Before she'd crawl back to the top with The Wedding Singer and Ever After, she had to endure her share of exploitation flicks like Poison Ivy and Guncrazy. And then there's 1993's Doppelganger, a thriller/monster movie hybrid that never ever saw a theatrical release (and with good cause).

Drew plays Holly Gooding, a timid girl who has relocated to New York in an attempt to forget her tortured past. She shacks up with Patrick (Newbern), a struggling screenwriter who is planning to make a "smart" horror movie that will echo Breakfast at Tiffany's. What a wonderful in-joke, since "Holly" is sort of similar to Audrey Hepburn's memorable character, if Hepburn was, you know, a murderess and maybe a weird mutant. You know, maybe they aren't that similar.

Anyway, Patrick quickly develops the hots for Holly, but he starts to suspect that she's crazy just because she acts like a total loon who can only remember half of what she does in an average day. Holly believes she is haunted by a doppelganger, her "dark self" that she cannot control. Patrick starts to believe the same when he finds out that Holly is a suspect in her mother's murder. Mom is played by Jaid Barrymore, and the on-screen matricide must have been a nice, therapeutic release for Drew ("That'll teach you to put my childhood memories up on eBay!").

Writer/director Avi Nesher seems too content to wallow in clichés, loading the film with fake scares, gross-out gore, and shameless nudity (Holly showers, when the water turns to blood! Holly soaks in the blood and rubs her breasts. Huh.) and the majority of the movie is deathly boring, mostly because Patrick's character is so dull (Newbern does the writing no favors with his flat performance). Drew does her best to vamp it up, but you can tell she's only in it for the paycheck. A few scenes have an overblown, noirish, femme fatale feel, but the lighting and production design hover for the most part at the "made for TV" level. The third act creature effects are grotesque and none-too-convincing, but at least their nonsensical intrusion into the climax of the film ends a five-minute expository monologue from the villain. If you plan to concoct an evil scheme, only to reveal your wily machinations at the key moment in your narrative, make sure someone actually cares one way or the other. And that they didn't sign on just to ogle Drew's goodies.

Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: D+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Doppelganger is presented in its original 1.33:1 full-frame format (at least, if the back of the box is to be believed). Colors are muted and look washed out at times. Black level is mediocre, with darker scenes lacking detail and looking grainy. The transfer looks a little soft, and suffers from occasional aliasing and artifacts.

Image Transfer Grade: C-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: Audio is pretty dull, and though the back of the box bills it as DD 2.0 surround, it sounds more like straight stereo. Dialogue is clear, but sounds somewhat weak spread across the front channels. The score and sound effects are likewise confined to the front soundstage, without the benefit of directional effects or panning.

Audio Transfer Grade: C


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Packaging: Scanavo variant
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Photo Gallery
Extras Review: The only extra is a photo gallery with a few pages of glamour shots of Drew and some "candid" on-set stuff.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

Doppelganger is a movie Drew Barrymore would probably like to forget. Do yourself a favor, and never give yourself a reason to want to do the same. Artisan's rather mediocre release is your other good excuse.


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