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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Deep Red (1975) - Suspense Giallo

Deep Red (1975) - If you can get past the main conceit of this film it is very an enjoyable suspense thriller. That conceit is that the main character Marcus Daly (David Hemmings) is a musician who witnesses a murder, he on his own not only investigates but solves it and other murders. He does not go to the police nor do they, the police seem involved or engaged in the investigation of the crimes. Why not?
With that said there is so much good about this film, Dario Argento wrote this with Bernardino Zapponi and Argento directs it with style and skill. Argento has put some real shit on the screen but here he seems to have his act together. The opening scene shot from the floor of an apartment, we hear an argument and see the shadows of what appears to be a stabbing, then a bloody knife falls onto the floor and we see what appears to be the legs of a girl step up next to the knife. This is a really well done scene and the perfect opening.
The introduction of our main character we see him playing Jazz music with a group of youngsters Marc is a teacher at the music conservatory. That is it though at this point.
Our catalyst victim is introduced in the next scene, Helga Ulmann (Macha Meril) is presenting at a conference She says she is a psychic who can see images and feel thoughts of people around her. She does a demonstration on an audience member. Then she gets some disturbing thoughts from an audience member we don't get to see. "You have killed and you will kill again." she shouts. We get a point of view of the killer leaving the auditorium. No one has gotten a good look at the killer as the stage light blinding Helga enough she could not make the person out.
We see a closeup of the eye of the killer, but not even enough of a look to tell if man or woman. The POV from the killer watching Helga so we know what is coming and can feel a bit of dread for her. We get images of children's drawings of the killing we saw in the first scene?
Helga hears children's music and starts to get jumpy in her apartment. The doorbell rings and as she reaches for the door senses the danger, too late, the door is kicked in and a cleaver wielding killer starts chopping at her. Of course the lighting does not let us see who the killer is.
Outside Marc and his fellow piano player and friend Carlo (Gabriele Lavia) are discussing life. Carlo is drunk and a sad sack. They hear the scream and see the poor victim as she is impaled on the broken glass of the window. Marc who also lives in the apartment rushes upstairs to see if he can help. He has a bit to explain when the police arrive. They are callous about the murder and it is real obvious they are not going to be in the movie much. I think the scene is really there to introduce the female reporter Amanda Righetti (Giuliana Calandra) who will travel the path to the killer with Marc.
Because of the nature of this film it is unfair to continue to give too much detail about the plot. Marc continues working his way through the story, and developing a relationship with the reporter. There is a image on the wall of Helga's apartment sticks in his head a an important revelation later on. The police are basically missing while Marc discovers important pieces of information and closes in on figuring out who the killer is. It takes a good deal of time to do this and there is the strangest thing with the copy of the film I got from Netflix. The dialog repeatedly and often went from Italian with English subtitles to dubbed English and then back again. I tried to find a pattern in this but could not, seemed random. Oh and what the fuck was the scene with the fucking weird robot? Marc eventually gets to the killer for a final confrontation. It is a pretty good little film is you can ignore the flaws. I thinking I was so smart thought I had it figured out halfway through but I was wrong which raised the score for this movie.
Rating (5.8) 5.0 and up are recommended, in the Zombiegrrlz rating system I say Rent It!

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