Bryan Wolford’s review:
One area I know I am completely lacking in my horror knowledge is Giallo films. So in order to rectify that I have been looking into getting some into my DVD player. So since I had about $55 in credit at Best Buy I picked up Tenebre and checked it out for my first time. So quick synopsis.
A popular American mystery writer Peter Neal heads to Rome to do some promotional work for his latest book Tenebre. Before he even gets off the plane a woman is killed and pages from Tenebre are stuffed in her throat. The police of course question Peter but he has a solid alibi as he was on the plane still but he starts to become concerned and works with the police to uncover the killers identity as the body count starts to rise.
For the first time viewing this I have to say that I really enjoyed this movie. I am not a fan of Suspiria at all so I was a little worried that I might just not be a fan of Argento at all. But I loved this film. One of the cool things Argento does is almost use the absence of color where as in Suspiria it was full of reds and blues. This one uses whites and grays. And they almost overlight the film. In DVD documentary they said they did this to get rid of any shadows and thus take away any places for the victims and the killer to hide in. Thus not giving the audience a safe place of where to expect or hide from the antagonist.
A person I of course was super happy to see in this film was John Saxon. Let’s face it he’s a dying breed in Hollywood. He was the last wave of actors that dealt with the studio system in Hollywood. He’s fought along Bruce Lee and faced off against Freddy Kreuger. The man has done it all. He plays Bullmer (Neal’s agent). He does a fantastic job.
Argento does a great job of crafting this story which has many twists and turns that will leave you guessing until the very end. My only exposure to Argento is his Masters Of Horror episodes and Suspiria so to me this almost seems like he pulled back his style a little to make it a little more realistic but saying that just about every shot you can tell has the Argento stamp on it. One of my favorite shots in this was a long crane shot that starts at one window in a house and almost goes completely around the house showing you different rooms until it stops on a window with blinds. Then the killers hands begin cutting away the blinds to make their way inside. It was a very beautiful shot.
So in conclusion this movie has definately turned me onto Argento as I hadn’t found a project of his that had excited me yet. There were some parts that seemed to drag a little but it was 1982 so the pacing fit the time period. A lot of threads in this movie are set up in scenes that almost seem to have no consequence but by the end when you see how everything comes together you’re completely hooked into the story. And plus the nudity helps.