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By Hal Hinson
Washington Post Staff Writer
March 10, 1989


Dick Maas
Huub Stapel;
Monique van de Ven
Under 17 restricted

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"Amsterdamned," the new Dutch thriller, is pretty much the movie equivalent of lint. Written and directed by Dick Maas (who composed the score as well), the picture is about a serial killer who emerges every night from the brackish waters of the Amsterdam canals to murder whoever happens to fall in his path. The killer, who is equipped with elaborate scuba gear, is a sort of underwater Darth Vader, and for most of the film all that we know about him is that he's a heavy breather. And it's all we want to know.

Most of the movie is taken up with the investigation of the killings by a womanizing cop (Huub Stapel) assigned to ferret out this monster before news of his exploits begins to hurt the tourist trade. This translates into a great number of scenes at headquarters during which the evidence is discussed in something less than fascinating detail and we learn such excellent facts as the exact number of divers in Amsterdam. Dish this info out to your friends and hear them ooh and aah!

What "Amsterdamned" most resembles is a second-rate television cop thriller from the mid-'70s. The story is hopelessly stale; even the hairstyles seem time-warped. Supposedly, the film was something of a sensation in Holland, which perhaps says more about the cultural life of the Netherlands than about the movie. The notoriety, I would imagine, is due to some of the director's more garish touches, like the murder of an attractive, scantily swimsuited young woman in a tiny inflatable boat. There's also a rather shocking scene in which a glass-topped tour boat filled with boy scouts rams into the body of a murdered prostitute that has been suspended by the killer upside down from a bridge. For this we have to import?

"Amsterdamned" is rated R and contains graphic violence.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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