My fourth Dario Argento film and I must say that this one is absolutely masterpiece by the auteur. Anybody who haven’t seen any Argento film, should begin their journey from this one and I’m sure he’ll suck to the master of slasher horror. It’s an absolutely nail biting thriller Argento made much before his much acclaimed ‘Suspiria’. He made a film where mystery, thrill and horror coiled into one to give you edge on the seat experience from start to finish.
An expert lady gifted with mind reading gets perverted sensations in return during a conference on parapsychology. Soon she became victim of killer’s slashing knife. A jazz piano player strolling on the road at late night witnessed the slashing and crashing scene at window; a typical trait of Argento films. During investigation he meets a possessive lady journalist but soon he goes on his own way to lead the case where he gets entangled in intriguing links about the missing painting, a children tune played on recorder and above all a suspicious man in a brown coat. Sometimes what you actually see and what you imagine get mixed in your memory like a cocktail from which you can no longer distinguish the flavor from another. Now that’s what Argento reflected in his debut film, but here played same stuff so brilliantly, it keeps the audience off guard with the witness’s version of truth, until he recalls the clue of memory in the chilling climax.
The plot, editing, background score, camera work and editing are just pitch perfect here. The pervasive use of red color in objects, lighting and background, the slashing of throats, the eerie extreme close ups, witchcraft, the haunted mansion; Argento didn’t give you moments to relax here. David Hemmings who played the lead as photographer in Antonioni’s masterpiece ‘Blow Up’, played quite similar role as a pianist who in pursuit to know the truth puts his own life into peril. Advice to watch an uncut/the director's cut edition with running time of 126 minutes and do watch it at night with earphone/headphone if possible or else you miss something!
One of absolutely best by Argento…so excited to explore more of him.