I have to say that this movie would have been a bit more suspenseful with a different title. It sort of takes away from the mystery you know? Now in some ways maybe originally they weren’t sure what angle to take with the film but most of the film plays up the experience as a suspenseful mystery so calling it “The Leopard” would have been much more effective if you ask me.
So the movie starts with a leopard being brought in to spice up a rather boring nightclub scene. It certainly draws some attention but not what Jerry had planned as it ends up murdering a lady named Teresa and escapes into town. Now everyone is terrified that they could be next and the thing is…they could be. The bodies start piling up and so the heroes have to find this leopard but it’s proven to be difficult. It’s also odd that the leopard would hang around town for so long and not be seen.
So the mystery here of course is to find the leopard…but then that title is rather interesting now isn’t it? Hmm…really makes you think. Really….well yeah so there is a human villain running around too. It does stretch my disbelief a bit that each victim could be murdered in such a realistic way as to mimic a leopard without anyone noticing. Yes he would always wait until the women were alone but it seems like this would take time and cause a lot of noise so you’d think someone would be around. It’s pretty rough that there’s no night traffic in this city.
It’s definitely a rather grim movie with everyone getting bumped off by the serial killer. The leopard does work well as a solid red herring because he actually does claim a victim as well. If not for the title I don’t think you would assume that this is a human until rather deep in the film when one guy keeps on insisting that it wouldn’t be possible. This is where some characters start to get really annoying though.
First off is the leopard’s owner Charlie who defends his pet but then Dr. Galbraith starts to suggest that maybe Charlie is murdering people after he gets drunk at night. And Charlie actually starts to believe this. Look, if you’re drinking so much that you black out and seriously think you could be murdering people then that means you have drunk way too much. There’s just no way around that, it’s the only logical conclusion here. I would have preferred if Charlie was a little stronger than that.
Meanwhile Clo-Clo is warned by Maria that she is in danger and something dark is approaching. Considering that there have already been murders by this point you’d think this would be serious but instead she runs off in the dead of night to reclaim her $100 and things don’t go over very well. She wasn’t the nicest character so you were expecting her to die the whole time but it’s still really tragic. Cmon the fortune teller did her best!
Not that I would pay Maria much mind myself but I wouldn’t go out of my way to test out the fortunes either. Maria probably could have been more helpful instead of constantly hiding the results and asking for a redo but in the end it doesn’t seem like it would have done a whole lot of good. Jerry is okay I guess but kind of forgettable. I don’t blame him for bringing in the leopard since by all accounts this should have been fairly safe. I do blame him for pretending he doesn’t care much to keep up appearances while worrying later on. Just be frank with everyone that this is a pretty bad situation.
Kiki is the main heroine here and the whole thing is pretty rough on her as well. So much for being the next sensation at the disco club with everything going on. She does decide to take a bold approach in helping to find the murderer so that was brave of her. She seems like a good person all in all. As for the murderer, well he’s rather crazy so there isn’t a whole lot to say about him. He just went looney and used this as an excuse to start taking names. It feels like it’s inevitable that this would have happened at some point with how quickly he cracked though and he just would have had a different gimmick. You’re glad things don’t end up going well for him.
There’s really not a whole lot to this film being the murders. It’s really short so the film has to go fast and just start bumping everyone off. The most tragic murder is easily the first one since the girl’s family were just so over the top mean about the whole thing. You’d think they would open the door when she’s begging for her life and in clear terror. Even from the start sending her out in the dead of night when there is a beast on the loose is crazy. Yeah you don’t want to be in that household, that’s for sure.
I will say that the film has good writing though. I did enjoy the exchanges between all of the characters and the dialogue style is something that’s hard to recreate compared to these older films. They just had a very distinguished air about them that always worked really well. Mix that in with the short length and at least it is a silver lining here. It would be nice if the characters had more time to do some serious investigating as opposed to being spoonfed the information needed to solve the case though.
Overall, The Leopard Man is definitely a skip. It probably wouldn’t have gone much better if the leopard was the main villain either to be honest since the climax would probably get a bit sketchy in that case. This doesn’t make for a very fun film in large part due to how tragic the deaths are. They’re described in decent detail here and while it’s inevitable that a bunch of people will die in a film like this, there aren’t a lot of light moments to really help you enjoy the film despite them. It’s not super violent or anything but the villain gets away with a whole lot before being caught.