An absolute knockout of a movie in the psychological horror line has been accomplished by Roman Polanski in his first English-language film. (Review of Original Release)
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The cruelty of his methods aside -- and Polanski wasn't the first director to terrorize an actor for the sake of a performance -- Repulsion is a frightening, fiercely entertaining experience that holds up to time. (Review of May 1998 revival)
Roman Polanski's first film in English (1965, 105 min.) is still his scariest and most disturbing--not only for its evocations of sexual panic, but also because his masterful employment of sound puts the audience's imagination to work in numerous ways...As narrative this works only part of the time, and as case study it may occasionally seem too pat, but as subjective nightmare it's a stunning piece of filmmaking.
If hell is in the details, Roman Polanski has captured it here in his disturbing portrait of falling into psychosis.
Repulsion's depiction of a young woman's dissolution into madness is one of the most harrowing mental descents ever depicted onscreen. (Reviewed 11/24/97)
The movie's shake-and-bake mix of "reality" and crumbling subjectivity is too deliberate to be about character--it is, rather, a game of movieness, a masquerade of Grand Guignol–as-psyche, virtually a parody of the surrealist's notion of consciousness bagged and tagged on celluloid.