Amsterdamned (3 stars)


(18) 105 min,
Dick Maas’ 1988 Dutch thriller with elements of gory horror has the great merit of not taking itself too seriously as it bops along, and adds to that an admirable visual inventiveness about its striking locales.
In it, a wetsuited serial killer emerges from the canals of Amsterdam to kill a number of folk living in the margins, from a prostitute to a fake Salvation Army swindler to two vegetarian hippies. An almost absurdly archetypal Dirty Harry-style Dutch detective (Huub Stapel) is assigned the job of catching the frogman, sparking a series of action sequences climaxing in a speedboat chase through the fleshpot grandeurs of the city’s waterways. There’s enough wit to this unashamedly American-style actioner to keep you watching, and some subtle digs at 80s fads to bring a vague social commentary to proceedings. Whether the film deserves its cult status is a moot point (Maas’ earlier The Lift is surely a more interesting film) but a ‘making of’ documentary adds to the effect of something you can enjoy, then forget.

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