Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments:#93-Pacific Heights (1990)

By Eric Polk-
It's hawt tension between Working Girl, Joker from Full Metal Jacket, and Batman in this 1990 movie directed by John Schlesinger. An unmarried couple, Patty Palmer (Melanie Griffith) and Drake Goodman (Matthew Modine) buys a house in the exclusive San Francisco neighborhood of Pacific Heights, where they renovate it and plan to rent the two apartments on the first floor to cover most of the monthly mortgage.

Carter Hayes(Michael Keaton) has all the trappings of a good tenant. In reality, he is a con artist who does not pay either the rent or the security deposit, and changes the locks on all the doors.

In short order, Hayes causes the couple all sorts of trouble through scare tactics, verbal baiting and turning his own apartment into a dark, cockroach-infested den. It is all part of an elaborate scheme to use California tenant laws against the owners and obtain the property cheaply.

The constant stress causes Patty to have a miscarriage. Drake then assaults Hayes, who takes out a restraining order against him. Hayes then vanishes almost without a trace, stealing Drake's identity.

Drake is shot by Hayes, who is not incriminated due to Drake's disobeying the restraining order. Patty becomes determined to have revenge. She searches what remains of the apartment and is able to track down Hayes and his new con game in Los Angeles that involves a wealthy widow (Tippi Hedren).

It's great to see the face of The Birds get some screen time, especially in this very tense, very psychologically gripping film. At first, Melaine Griffith comes across as a whiny little mouse, but impressed me more as the film rolled to its conclusion. Seeing Joker...errr...Matthew Modine flip out was priceless. I guess he was having flashbacks to Basic Training...

Then, you have Mr.Keaton. A near-flawless performance from someone who once played Mr.Mom. There are truly scary moments in here and worthy of its place on Bravo's list.


Bleaux Leaux said...

Carter Hayes is absolutely one of the more menacing movie creeps, mainly because he's someone you can actually believe might show up looking to rent YOUR spare bedroom.

Maynard Morrissey said...

wow, for whatever reason I've never heard of this one before. must check it out immediately!