Tenebre (Unsane) Reviews
It's hard to explain the fascination that this and other Argento's movies inspire: he spends most of the time showing flowing taps, light bulbs and barking dogs; the dialogues are mindless and the storyline hardly coherent. Yet somehow he makes it. Characteristic of Tenebre, compared to the rest of his production, is the predominance of white and light (which is supposed to contrast with the dark interior of a psychopath's mind).
Extra reasons to watch it: good soundtrack by Simonetti-Morante-Pignatelli (ie Goblin, albeit unofficially), Daria Nicolodi is sweet and sexy as ever and Berlusconi's wife gets her hand chopped and dies!
When one thinks of the horror genre, one of the frontrunners of pulpy horror films is Dario Argento. Argento, in a way, reinvented the way horror is approached. Gore is in excess in some of his films. His two greatest achievements, Profondo Rosso (Deep Red) and Suspiria, had took the horror genre by storm. And even though he was famous for his giallo films, he took a break after creating Deep Red. Focusing much more on supernatural horror with Suspiria and Inferno, many feared he had lost his way. Then, he came back to the giallo genre and released Tenebre, which is a cult classic.
Novelist Peter Neal heads to Rome in order to promote his new book, Tenebre. All is sound until someone is murdered. And when the killer is revealed to be an obsessed fan of Neal, Inspector Germani looks for Neal's help in tracking down the killer. The case then devolves into the surreal and brutal when more murders pop up and Neal's life is threatened. I can say that the basic premise is familiar, but Argento adds some great mystery to the film that helps keep you hooked.
First, I would like to start off with what I liked about this film. The music is easily the best part of this film. Electric, fast paced, and strangely haunting, it sets the film up really nicely. The gore effects are top notch as well. There is a moment when a character's arm is chopped off, and I couldn't help but be amazed by the effects done. It goes to show that practical effects are much more outstanding than CGI. Another thing I must note, is the cinematography. Yes, it's very abstract, with many strange camera jerks and a unique reliance on tracking shots and moving cameras. I read up on how they preformed this one scene involving the use of a crane to capture the entire home in one take, and I must say that they did a fine job of that. And finally, the part I'm sure most folks wanted, the kills are awesome. It was Argento's goriest film at the time, and I can see why. Blood gushes, throats are slit, and it's just awesome!
Now, while Tenebre's technical standings are on point, the film's narrative collapses. The plot was highly engaging and I found myself to be lost in the mystery and predicting the killer. And, without spoiling the twist, I was wrong, but it was the most illogical thing to happen. It denoted things that happened earlier in the film, and didn't really make sense. And the narrative wasn't the only fault. The acting left much to be desired. All the women actresses (this is ironic since the film has a sort of feminist agenda to it) were all godawful. The men weren't good, either. BUT John Saxon came in as Neal's publicist and he stole the show in every scene. Unfortunately, he was the only bright spot in terms of acting.
Overall, Tenebre is not an awful film. In fact, I liked it more than Suspiria, which is shocking cause Suspiria is supposed to be Argento's classic. However, Tenebre is no match to Profondo Rosso, in terms of narrative structure or style. The gore is relentless, and the acting is atrocious, save for Saxon. The plot twist was nowhere near as brilliant as Profondo Rosso's and actually ruined the film. Yeah, the ending went extremely cheesy, campy, and downright silly. However, I'm willing to be more lenient cause it did it's job to perfection!
Still brilliant now, although not as good as Suspiria, but definitely one of his best.