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Science Fiction - Looker


Albert Finney, Susan Dey, James Coburn,
Terry Kiser, Dorian Harewood
Written and directed by Michael Crichton
Originally released 1981
Warner Home Video 2007
93 minutes

Looker is a fun little science fiction mystery DVD movie written and directed by Michael Crichton before he became world famous. A guy with dark glasses and a thick mustache is zapping television commercial models and this leads to their death. Doctor Larry Roberts, the models' plastic surgeon played by Albert Finney, becomes a suspect in the murders and tries to solve the mystery assisted by model and client Cindy Fairmont (Susan Dey after The Partridge Family and before L.A. Law).

Looker Real Player Clip 1 Copyright Warner Home Video 2007

Looker is a techno-thriller that sounds and feels like a made for cable movie though it was not. The writing and plotting is a bit heavy-handed though not enough to bug a viewer and the premise is quite original. It seems a company is getting rid of models after it has digitized their image. That way, it gets the models to do commercials without having to deal with them or pay them royalties. In an age where the dead John Wayne and Humphey Bogart have appeared in ads long after their remains turned to dust this is not such an outrageous idea.

Looker Real Player Clip 2 Copyright Warner Home Video 2007

Aside from having less expensive models, one of the reasons the James Coburn owned company is digitalizing the models is to make the ads sell the product without the viewer being distracted by the model herself. This is rather well-explained without too much technical gobbledygook. The real nefarious plan, explained in the end, is both possible and probable and that is what makes it scary.

Looker Real Player Clip 3 Copyright Warner Home Video 2007

Being a mix between mystery and science fiction, Looker does indulge in some cool modern sets, computer effects, and weird sci-fi devices including the Looker device which seems to be a fancy strobe light ray gun that makes those under its spell not see the bad guy in the room or freeze in place for up to an hour or so.

Looker Real Player Clip 4 Copyright Warner Home Video 2007

You have to give Looker due credit for knowing where the money is. The models have the courtesy of getting killed in skimpy clothing, a lot of women just happen to be wearing bathing suits when you see them, and star Susan Dey gets to do a nude scene (something some male Partridge Family fans will enjoy).

Though not a classic of science fiction, thrillers, or Michael Crichton movies, Looker is a pleasant and fun to watch DVD with a rather original premise. It is a sit back and relax kind of movie and sometimes that's what you are looking for.

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