Amsterdamned (1988)

Somewhere, under the 25 miles of canals that twist through the capital city of Holland, lurks a serial killer in a scuba suit — shades of The Snorkel! People of Amsterdam, you are Amsterdamned.

In this minor gem of Dutch genre cinema, writer and director Dick Maas, reunites with Huub Stapel, the satanic Santa of his 2010 Christmas horror film, Saint Nick. Here, Stapel is the good guy: Eric Visser, a single dad and Amsterdam’s top police detective. Visser’s work on the case begins when a boat full of tourists can’t help but make icky contact with the corpse of a hooker, left dangling from a bridge. That the glass-topped watercraft cannot come to an immediate stop, causing the body to be dragged ever so slowly over horrified passengers, like a mop held by a lethargic janitor, lets you know Maas isn’t above introducing a streak of wicked humor into a thriller that is played largely straight, despite that exploitable title.

Clad head to toe in black synthetic rubber, the killer projects sleek menace as he makes waves through the city on his stabby spree. Although the movie is a tad too long at an hour and 54 minutes, it more or less moves swiftly through the paces of a procedural, replete with red herrings and last-act twists. Midway through Amsterdamned, Maas impressively stages its best sequence: a high-speed boat chase through those narrow canals lined with innocent members of the public on each side. While not quite on the hair-raising level of The French Connection or Bullitt, the extended scene — something of a knockout — generates a sizable wake of fun that elevates the material surrounding it. —Rod Lott

Get it at Amazon.

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