This giallo by Dario Argento is pure Argento from beginning to end. All the elements that make up Argento’s 1970s filmography are here: The extraordinary music, the elaborate (and grisly) murder scenes, the nonsensical dialogue, and the out-of-nowhere plot twists that spice things up but don’t make much sense. The story itself is fairly simple yet occasionally difficult to follow because of Argento’s idiosyncratic filming style, which eschews conventional narrative devices like linear storytelling and editing, while the music (however terrific) is often jarringly inappropriate for what’s onscreen. However, the climax contains a number of genuine surprises that heighten the impact of the movie, and it’s impressively forward-thinking in terms of its social awareness (at least for an Argento movie from the ’70s). Ultimately, the movie is stylish and atmospheric but also has a tendency to spin its wheels, and there are a number of digressions that seem intended simply to pad up the running time – so as long as you’re ready to suspend your disbelief and settle in for an occasionally boring but well-shot slasher, you could do a lot worse.
Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)