Tenebre (Unsane) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Tenebre (Unsane) Reviews

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July 28, 2018
Outstanding a must see!
October 31, 2017
I'll be watching this one again and again.
October 21, 2017
Another meticulously made Giallo film, and normally regarded as Dario Argentos final great film, Tenebre is complete with the usual elements of Argentos, along with an intriguing premise, a great shock ending, and buckets of blood filmed in his usual beautiful style, making this yet another link in his mighty chain of giallos
April 12, 2017
Another selection from the heyday of Argento that I had somehow never watched before, I was able to get into this during a recent Halloween marathon.

I really loved this one, it's kind of up there with films of the same era like Deep Red and Suspiria as far as my top Argento titles would go.

A novelist finds himself embroiled in a series of brutal murders when he travels to Rome to promote his latest novel, and boy are you in for a ride.

Recommended.
March 10, 2017
Not just one of Dario Argentos greatest films but also,in my view,the greatest Italian "Giallo" horror film of all time "Tenebrae" is one of the most terrifying and brilliant horror films of the eighties.
January 18, 2017
Another fantastic and gorgeous giallo from Argento. One can say that thematically there are some cheap tricks pulled, but it's for the purpose of style. And this movie is beautifully constructed. Up there with his best.
December 20, 2016
While not as good as his peak films of the 1970's, this might just be the best of his 80's films. There's an odd self-referential quality to it. It revolves around a horror author who is accused of brutality and rampant misogyny, and this is the most ornately brutal of Argento's gialli and the violence has more of a sexual nature than any of his earlier films. It's odd and unsettling, especially given the twist ending.
November 2, 2016
One of horror master Dario Argento's finest (and most coherent) thrillers involving an American writer discovering that his work is the inspiration for a series of brutal murders at the site of his latest stop on a press tour. This one really must be seen to be believed. What starts out as a stylish, if not by the numbers, mystery builds until the bonkers finale where anything goes. Twists and turns abound and the blood flies so much on the walls that it looks like the characters are repainting the living room red. A must see!
October 12, 2016
Dario Argento's 1982 film "Tenebre" is a great balance of murder mystery and horror, and is damn good entertainment. The cast is solid but it is the direction and pacing of the thing that really keep you engaged. Every aspect of this picture seems to work, even if some lousy dubbing does take place from time to time (at least in the English-language version I saw). Definitely recommend this one!
October 1, 2016
Its a good looking movies, very proud to be ice-cold bourgeois 80's with all the gold laqué it implies, but Argento works hard at creating obnoxious characters who react in stupid ways at every turn. He made this film after accusations that his content was mysoginist, and answers by pressing all his mysoginist buttons harder with his rapey-est attitude to date, vaguely lesbophobic on top, though he goes to great length to underline he is not homophobic; because his target is only women. He has a young girl be able to fix the sink yet makes her an underage sexspot, keeping her scenes highly lecherous. Argento's shrink must be rolling his eyes at him constantly . The women he writes here are inane and neurotic by design and he makes them deserving of what they get on top of it. So how to put it? Its a good (enough) movie made by a dickish guy who takes himself seriously (like when he shoots the rooftiles for no reason other than to play a goblin track for a long time) At least there's John Saxon who seems aware this is more ridiculous than it seems (probably caught on the fact there's more plot hole than actual story) so he plays accordingly, almost funny campy. Ah and also... i realised AFTER the credits rolled that ive seen this movie about 15 years ago, something that NEVER happens to me. Goes to show how unremarkable it is. But lets say its bad enough to be good. Maybe.
May 24, 2016
Tenebre is Dario Argento's return to the Giallo formula after the first 2 installments of his 3 mothers trilogy. Despite this return to the familiar sub-genre it is one of his most challenging and original movies to date. I won't go too far into the synopsis I'm sure that if you're reading this you're somewhat informed on it. I found it to be one of Dario's tightest and most thought-provoking scripts. Laced with a very meta/self-aware feeling Dario asks what it it means to be an artist who deals in the "sick and twisted' and what this means for the artist, the audience, and the detractors. I would definitely recommend this highly to anyone interested in Giallo or Argento's filmography. Whereas Suspiria may be his best, or at least most visually arresting films, Tenebre may be one of his most thought-provoking.

Always see for your self!
½ April 18, 2016
Dario Argento is one of those filmmakers that even though you may not always like his work, you have to at least appreciate it in some way. He most definitely has his own style and approach to his work and the results are usually positive, at least throughout the formative years of his career. Tenebre is another in a long line giallos, but also comes across as a bit of a cliche story-wise. This type of plot has been done countless times before and since, which is a story about a killer who murders people based on the murders from a popular horror novel, and that the author of the novel is also in danger because of it. Despite that, it still feels fresh, and is genuinely suspenseful at times. It's also well photographed, and can be quite beautiful, despite how grisly it is. Argento is really on top of his game with this film. Great performances and another fantastic score also help to make this one a winner. If you're a horror fan, then definitely see it.
February 22, 2016
Probably Argento's "brightest" movie in terms of lighting, Tenebre manages to be still creepy and very unique in it's whodunit genre with an unexpected plot twist I haven't seen in any other movie before or since.
½ February 13, 2016
'Tenebre' finds Dario Argento at his finest in this twisty, stylish shocker. It's part slasher, part murder mystery, and it always keeps the viewer guessing.
½ November 17, 2015
Dario Argento is broken. It's 1982, and his celebrated horror masterpieces of the 1970s seem like a thing of the past, an unmatchable era. Angry members of the press have derided him for his alleged misogyny, as his famed films, such as "Suspiria" and "Inferno," use the stylized murders of beautiful women as set pieces in his overall vision. In 1980, an obsessed fan telephoned him numerous times with increasingly violent zeal; "Inferno," mega-hit "Suspiria"'s follow-up, flopped commercially. Despite the previous decade's many successes (consider his "The Bird with the Crystal Plumage" arguably created the giallo subgenre of the slasher movie), his career seemed to be on the downturn, toutings of him being the Italian Hitchcock waning rapidly.
"Tenebre," his return to the basic giallo stylizations after a nearly a decade away, is his most personal film - and I think it is among his best. It provides for one of his most cohesive storylines, some of his most inspired sequences of terror, and serves as a wondrous argument for his genius. It isn't just a whodunit in stalk-and-slash form; it is also a sleek, terrifically designed thriller of the De Palma form, erotically charged and endlessly gripping. While "Suspiria" and "Inferno," his excellent forays into the supernatural, are exceptionally frightening due to their nonsensicality and color, "Tenebre" is frightening because of its story, its obsessions, its close imitations of Argento's own life.
Argento's fictional counterpart in the film, Peter Neal, is portrayed Anthony Franciosa, an extraordinary popular crime author whose latest novel, "Tenebre," is earning him just as much acclaim as it is controversy. Fans are consumed with the book for its suspenseful atmosphere, its detractors concerned with Neal's infatuation with the killing of women. He is no misogynist, he casually replies to an inflammatory journalist accusing him of the personality - it is a work of fiction, not a representation of himself.
But fiction begins to metamorphosize into reality as violent murders, copies of Neal's works, start to take shape at a rapid, gruesome pace. The victims are found with pages of the novels stuffed in their mouths; photographs are taken of their corpses and kept as souvenirs. Neal is understandably traumatized, but as a novelist with an adventurous mind, he decides to take matters into his own hands and investigate the crimes for himself. The results, however, turn out to be much closer to home than he could ever imagine.
The parallels to Argento's personal life are so obvious in "Tenebre" that it is unthinkable not to praise him for putting so much of himself into a film so commercially adrenaline infused. Neal is faced with the exact same journalistic accusations Argento was targeted with at his prime; a deranged fan is the villain; the murdered are all given a three-dimensional shape that makes their deaths all the more tragic, unthinkable; Daria Nicolodi, playing Neal's assistant, was Argento's life partner at the time and shows a similar type of concern for the man that matters the most to her. The nakedness of its psychology is astonishing. Like Hitchcock, Argento can turn personal pricks and prods into thunderous art.
"Tenebre" is also Argento's most erotic film, with nudity and sexual identity acting as major characters in ways never before seen in his work. Perhaps it is a comment regarding his abnormal fascination with women, how he appreciates their form, their mystique, just as much as he is fascinated by the idea of their perfection being destroyed scrupulously out of the blue during their most ethereally attractive time. The way sadomasochism plays a part in the mentality of the killer is unsettlingly characterized.
But despite being a horror film of idiosyncratic intimacy, "Tenebre" is still an entertaining piece in line with the phenomenal stylistic aspects of "Psycho" and "Dressed to Kill." Some of Argento's most stunningly shot sequences infect its frames, including the aesthetically daring double murder of a judgmental journalist and her lover, and the nightmarish flashback deliriums that take us directly into the mind of the murderer.
More acclaim goes toward "Deep Red" and "Opera" in terms of Argento's oeuvre, but "Tenebre" is one of his greatest films, as thickly stylish as it is riskily personal. It serves as a reminder that no one does giallo quite like Argento - Sergio Martino and Lucio Fulci were never more than placeholders.
November 1, 2015
All of Dario Argento's films are unique in some way. Tenebre is a story about a copycat killer re-enacting murders from the titular novel by American writer Peter Neal, who is in Rome promoting his book. The gory setpieces are sheer spectacle and the murder mystery is classic 'giallo'. Only on this occasion the giallo is self-referential, apparently a response from Argento himself at accusations of misogyny levelled at him in the past by the media. Tenebre is Argento at his most visceral. The 'he's behind you shot' towards the end is genius and has to be one of the best single shots in horror cinema.
October 20, 2015
A horror film full of sophistication, sexuality, voyeurism and terror.
April 17, 2015
This is supposed to be a video nasty. It would perhaps be a little nastier if Argento had ever cut himself and noticed that blood isn't the colour of post-boxes and London busses. The story does provide some suspense and titilation but it's not what the hype would lead you to believe; a scary horror film.
½ April 3, 2015
Back when Dario Argento got up in the morning and loved the smell of
fresh celluloid, a film like Tenebrae could come out. It
was the peak of his powers as a filmmaker, coming off of work like
Suspiria and Inferno, he decided to once again make a hardcore 'Giallo'
(Suspiria and Inferno diverge a bit, though still have the tropes). If
you look at it, the story isn't that so much different than other films
of his: a character, or a couple of them, our heroes, are in Rome or
Italy someplace and a killer-with-black-gloves (that's all we see,
naturally) is killing people, and the cops are on the case and the case
also involves these characters, and the hero/es try to figure out the
murders themselves - this despite how relentlessly grisly and gory they
can get. In this case in Tenebrae, the story surrounds a celebrated
author of horror-thriller books (Anthony Franciosa), who is in Rome to
promote his new book of the title, and murders are happening that are
connected with his material. At first he tries to ignore it, but gets
drawn in inexorably as does happen. But not all is what it seems.

Tenebrae - or "Unsane" as it was called for a while in the US - is
Argento going the route that sometimes creators of pulp like this went
into: think Stephen King with Misery, a story of an author who is
stalked by a fan, for example. But for Argento, the kills don't all
have to be people we've followed diligently throughout the film; indeed
the first person killed is just a would-be shop-lifter who wanted a
copy of the book in a store, and is stalked home and stabbed by the
killer (after an uncomfortable but sort of darkly funny scene with a
mangy old man trying to fondle her I guess), and the pages of the book
are crumpled in her mouth before the throat gets slit. Oh boy.

Or take the girl who we do get to know a bit and like, the daughter of
the manager at the hotel Peter Neal is staying at. In probably the most
intense and masterful sequence in the film, or at least one of them
(and, again, sometimes with dollops of absurd comedy), she gets in an
argument with the boy she went with for the day, is out by herself at
night, and a dog - a rotweiler of course - wants to attack her, jumps
over a high fence, and proceeds to chase her, occasionally bite her
(them she gets him away), and then runs some more. She then happens
upon the killer's domain - how she gets there and how she gets inside
is just one of those contrivances, go with it, it's a movie silly - and
then more stalking happens from there. The quality of horror is so high
and disturbing that it made me ask a frightening question of logic:
what happens to the dog after she goes inside the lair? We may never
know...

Argento's only faults here, and they should be noted, are the
familiarity aspects - the scenes with the cop explaining things with
Peter Neal back and forth are alright, but he's just alright as an
actor, maybe near the end he tries more, he's there to give exposition
and figure things like a Detective Movie Character does - and just part
of the ending. I can't go into it without really spoiling things to
high heaven, however suffice it to say the killer is revealed (in some
part), and then it kind of feels disappointing as more exposition and
other things about the killer are revealed that we, as the audience,
already know and don't necessarily need to be shown twice.... but even
this is excusable, perhaps like the ending of Psycho, for suddenly how
twisted the final moments after this reveal turn things on their heads.
This is clearly a filmmaker having so much fun, and in LOVE with
filmmaking.

It may not have always the same stylish tenor of Suspiria or Deep Red.
At the same time, there's rarely a moment I don't see Argento working
out psychological quandaries here and twisting them into trashy ways.
He's also making a very sexual film in many scenes - there's more
nudity than I can remember than from any of his films, and certainly
some buxom ladies at that, occasionally to comical lengths like with
the prostitute in the lesbian house - and there is one particular crane
shot that, arguably, shouldn't exist. This sequence could be told
without it, you might suggest. Hell with you, Argento says, and does it
HIS way, in a manner that is so elaborate that you can't help but be
with the movement of it, especially as Goblin, the director's preferred
and awesome devisers of the synth-macabre, make it even more epic.

This is a filmmaker who wants to REVEAL things is elaborate and twisted
ways, and when the violence really flows it can be shocking; one woman
is killed in such a way that isn't so much fun as disgusting, but it's
part of the point. Truffaut once said that he wanted to feel a
director's love or pain while watching a film, with little interest in
the in-between parts. Argento's on fire with Tenebrae, with his
thin-but-sometimes-bold characters, occasionally with flashbacks -
where Franciosa winds up shouldn't make sense, and at the same time
there is a demented logic to it that you can go with in this
filmmaker's hands - and his exquisite (yes, deliciously done) set
pieces. If you're going to put the audience through suspense, at least
know where to point and get the camera for maximum effectiveness.
Tenebrae is effective and cracked Italian Horror viewing, filled with ridiculous peril and the joy of terrifying an audience.
January 3, 2015
Ok...the movie had some reputation as it was banned in Germany like so many horror or actions movies in the 80ies....so I was really looking forward to find out what was it about, what shocked the small hearted German authorities so badly...sadly I have to say it seems to have been banned more because because of terrible acting and nonsense story telling than of brutality...which is based on today's standards more or less less gruesome than expected...big disappointment and one of argent ons worst in my opinion
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