RAISING CAIN (1992) Reviews and overview



‘DeMented. DeRanged. DeCeptive. DePalma.’

Raising Cain is a 1992 psychological thriller film written and directed by Brian De Palma (Dressed to Kill; The Fury; Carrie; Phantom of the ParadiseSisters). It was produced by Gale Anne Hurd (The Walking Dead; TremorsAliens; The Terminator). Pino Donaggio (Patrick: Evil Awakens; The Black Cat; Tourist Trap) provided the musical score.

Main cast:

John Lithgow (Dexter; Tales from the Crypt; Twilight Zone: The Movie), Lolita Davidovich, Steven Bauer (Werewolf: The Beast Among Us; Raptor Island), Frances Sternhagen, Gregg Henry, Tom Bower, Mel Harris, Teri Austin.

The film was a decent box office success, gaining $37,170,057 against a reported $12 million budget.


On September 13, 2016, Shout! Factory released a 2-disc Blu-ray.

Disc One:
– Theatrical Version of the film
– New interviews with actors John Lithgow, Steven Bauer, Gregg Henry, Tom Bower, Mel Harris and editor Paul Hirsch
– Original Theatrical Trailer

Disc Two:
– Director’s Cut of the Film featuring scenes reordered as originally intended
– Changing Cain: Brian De Palma’s Cult Classic Restored featurette
– Raising Cain Re-Cut – a video essay by Peet Gelderblom


Buy: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

On 30 January 2017, Arrow Video release a 3-disc version of the film in the UK.

  • Limited Edition [3000 copies] containing two versions of the film on Blu-ray and the theatrical version on DVD
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing on both versions
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Nathanael Marsh
  • Booklet featuring new writing on the film by Anne Billson

Discs 1 and 2: Theatrical version [Blu-ray + DVD]

  • High Definition digital transfer of the theatrical version
  • Hickory Dickory Doc, a brand-new interview with actor John Lithgow
  • The Man in My Life, an interview with actor Steven Bauer
  • Have You Talked to the Others?, an interview with editor Paul Hirsch
  • Three Faces of Henry, an interview with actor Gregg Henry
  • The Cat’s in the Bag, an interview with actor Tom Bower
  • A Little Too Late for That, an interview with actor Mel Harris
  • Raising Pino, a brand-new interview with composer Pino Donaggio
  • Father s Day, a brand-new video essay about the multiple versions of Raising Cain by Chris Dumas, author of Un-American Psycho: Brian De Palma and the Political Invisible
  • Theatrical Trailer

Disc 3: Director’s Cut [Limited Edition Blu-ray exclusive]

  • Raising Cain: The Director’s Cut, a De Palma-endorsed recreation of the film by Peet Belder Gelderblom, re-ordered as originally planned
  • Changing Cain: Brian De Palma’s Cult Classic Restored, an introduction by Gelderblom to the Director s Cut
  • Raising Cain Re-Cut, a video essay by Gelderblom on the origins and differences of the Director’s Cut


Buy: Amazon.co.uk



Doctor Carter Nix (John Lithgow) is a respected child psychologist. His wife, Jenny (Lolita Davidovich), becomes concerned that Carter is obsessively studying their daughter, Amy; he regards her like a scientist tracking the development of his creation.

However, Carter himself suffers from multiple personality disorder consisting of Cain, a street hustler, Josh, a shy 10-year-old boy, and Margo, a middle-aged nanny. Carter and Cain are killing young mothers to procure their children for his experiments…


Reviews of 1992 theatrical version:

“Frequently shooting Cain from disturbing, tilted angles, Mr. De Palma may be promising to provide some kind of stylistic compass, but the film is often too caught up in its own craziness to keep track of that. Risky as it sounds, Raising Cain is enjoyable precisely because it makes the most of its own lunacy and stays so far out on a limb.” Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“Is Raising Cain a good movie? No way. You could almost say it’s intentionally bad — a gleeful piece of jerry-built schlock. Yet De Palma’s naughty-boy gamesmanship has a perverse fascination, even when it doesn’t work (which is most of the time).” Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly


“De Palma clearly did not want to do a conventional thriller, and so his considerable prowess in that area is only occasionally brought to bear. As a result, despite a few finely creepy moments that remind us of his talent, the shocking parts of Raising Cain feel lethargic and lacking in purpose. That same lack of energy also carries over to the parody elements, for without zest and palpable enthusiasm, a sendup is fated to be dispiriting and largely humorless.” Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“John Lithgow is excellent in all his roles. The same cannot be same of Lolita Davidovich in her one role, who just cannot evoke the levels of sympathy we felt for Angie Dickinson who sort of played the same character in Dressed to Kill. Raising Cain isn’t a bad film, but it is all rather daft, and while de Palma fans would have welcomed it back in the day it’s not difficult to see why general audiences didn’t go for it.” John Llewellyn Probert, House of Mortal Cinema


Reviews of 2016 Blu-ray release:

“Regardless of which version of the film you choose, Raising Cain is one for the books—a thrilling, funny, exciting and creepy exercise in suspense and humor from a master filmmaker firing on all cylinders … Whether you are discovering or rediscovering the film for the first time, you will not only be stunned by just how great it is, you will find yourself wondering how people could have overlooked its brilliance when it first came out.” Peter Sobczynski, RogerEbert.com


Buy: Amazon.com

“With the new director’s cut, Raising Cain absolutely now needs another look and to be re-assessed. The film’s new narrative is so much stronger and more faithful to just being a De Palma film, its actually just flat out better and actually a good solid thriller instead of a bit of a decent one that’s a little harder to swallow (Or comprehend).” Brandon Peters, Why So Blu?


“Die-hard fans may see this “Director’s Cut” as an improvement or, at the very least, a new interpretation of something they’ve seen dozens of times before. I wasn’t as impressed with the changes…but since both versions are included here on separate discs, who can complain either way? Combined with a fresh A/V presentation and a handful of other brand new extras, this is a exemplary treatment of a catalog title that’s an exception to the rule these days.” Randy Miller III, DVD Talk


Cast and characters:

  • John Lithgow as Doctor Carter Nix/Cain/Nix Sr/Josh/Margo
  • Lolita Davidovich as Jenny
  • Steven Bauer as Jack Dante
  • Frances Sternhagen as Dr Lynn Waldheim
  • Gregg Henry as Lieutenant Terri
  • Tom Bower as Sergeant Cully
  • Mel Harris as Sarah
  • Teri Austin as Karen
  • Gabrielle Carteris as Nan
  • Barton Heyman as Mack
  • Amanda Pombo as Amy
  • Kathleen Callan as Emma
  • Geoff Callan as Young Lover

Filming locations:

Mountain View, California, with the park scenes filmed at Menlo Park, where most the film is set. Other locations include Los Altos, Palo Alto, and San Francisco.

MOVIES and MANIA provides previews of new films, our own movie reviews/ratings, and links to other reviews from trustworthy recommended sources - all in one handy web location. Plus, links to legitimately watch 1000s OF MOVIES FREE ONLINE via platforms such as Amazon Prime, Plex, Roku, Tubi and on YouTube. As an Amazon Associate, we earn a very tiny amount from any qualifying purchases.    
Visitor rating! What do you think of this movie? Click on a star to rate it

Discover more from MOVIES and MANIA

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.