Aroused/Review

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< Aroused
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roused opens with a man paying a woman for some horizontal time and after that deed is done, he leaves, she hops in a shower, and is promptly murdered. Her shower murder and Janet Leigh haircut tell us exactly what inspired this movie.

But Aroused is no mere copy of Hitchcock's masterpiece. In true exploitation fashion, it adds a few elements that Hitchcock didn't give us: nudity and more explicit violence.

That violence in Aroused is made even more disturbing by a simple yet clever bit of filmmaking: at certain points in the murder scenes, the film freezes and we hear people from the killer's childhood. We learn he was abused by both his mother and his mother's clients. She, like those he is currently hunting, was also a working girl.

Like Norman before him, this killer has mommy-issues.

The lover of the shower-murder-victim is fellow prostitute Alice. She teams up with a green detective, Johnny, to hunt the killer. She wants revenge, he wants justice, and that's enough common ground to justify working together.

The movie has plenty of surprises along the way and more than a few tense and creepy moments, including one scene that finds Alice in the killer's apartment. It is decorated with various mannequin parts and made me wonder if William Lustig had seen this film and took some inspiration from it in designing Frank Zito's room in Maniac.

For a sexploitation film, Aroused is a bit light on the sex and nudity, so it's best to think of this film as a straight thriller. As a thriller, it has plenty of sleaze, so align your expectations accordingly and you won't be disappointed.

The film is slightly marred by some pacing issues in the middle and a few moments of sub-par acting. Still, though, Aroused is an effective noir thriller with enough surprises and fun to make it worth a look. Besides, it's only about 80 minutes long.

Like an evening with a working girl, it's not much of a commitment.

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