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Film / Anamorph

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Madness. Mayhem. Mutilation. The masterwork of a serial killer
Anamorph is a 2007 Psychological Thriller starring Willem Dafoe and featuring cameos from Mick Foley and Debbie Harry. Stan Aubrey (Dafoe) is a retired detective who previously solved the Uncle Eddie murders, a series of murders involving victims being arranged in artistic positions with "Dead" written by their bodies. Aubrey tracked down the suspect and shot him, mistaking a held remote for a gun. Five years later, a similar set of artistic murders are committed and Aubrey is brought back in to determine if it's a copycat killer.

Not to be confused with Animorphs, the middle grade book series from the '90s.

This movie exhibits the following tropes:

  • The Alcoholic: Aubrey drinks heavily throughout the film, spiking every cup of coffee with alcohol.
  • Calling Card: In the Uncle Eddie murders, every victim is labeled "Dead". The copycat murders lack this element until the penultimate death.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Detective Carl happens to have the exact size of coffee mug to produce the sequential anamorphs in the scenes and places the mug at just the right points to reveal them in time to realize where Aubrey is being lured to.
  • Criminal Mind Games: Uncle Eddie has been revealing clues to the next murder in each scene. He's also been including tools and techniques from early Renaissance perspective studies to hint Aubrey toward recognizing the anamorphs.
  • Defective Detective: Aubrey maintains a practical sterile home, precisely organized, every piece of furniture in the place he wants it. He also resists allowing anyone in his life except for Sandy, who was the roommate of the last victim of the Uncle Eddie murders.
  • Obsessively Organized: Aubrey has to have things arranged in certain ways. It aids his detective work because he is obsessed with details and patterns, seeing exactly how everything fits together. It's implied that his compulsions are partly to ward off his memories of Uncle Eddie case.
  • Significant Anagram:
    • Gerri Harden == Red Herring
    • A Poison Harms == Anamorphosis
  • Title Drop: It doesn't show up until halfway through the film, but Aubrey eventually realizes that the scenes include anamorphs, images created by viewing a work at a specific angle. Later, his partner realizes that the crime scene photos morph into each other when viewed through a curved reflective surface.
  • Tranquil Fury: Sandy, who had been friendly and supportive of Stan through most of the film - however, when he says he knew Uncle Eddie was on the docks the night Crystal was killed, and that he blamed himself for not warning her, Sandy's temperment goes to instant disdain. Not because he didn't warn her that night, but because he had never even thought to warn her, and he was always so wrapped up with Crystal that apparently concern for Sandy's safety never once registered with him. this realization is what leads to her relapse, and ultimately her death.