Sleepless ★★★½

Had heard some mention this as possibly the best late period Argento, including co-host of the Pure Cinema Podcast and Colors of the Dark podcast Elric Kane, who told me himself when I briefly met him after a PCP live recording and we ended up talking Argento. I finally grabbed the blu-ray of it so I could watch it during Giallo January.

I’m assuming the reason some others don’t like it is because Argento is basically during a pastiche of his own gialli, particularly the 80s ones like OPERA (and there even seems to be Easter egg-esque references to TENEBRE and DEEP RED). But he actually does a great impression of himself as this is mostly slickly made and includes some really great kills (though they are even more brutal than in THE STENDHAL SYNDROME) In fact, I would go so far to say the opening train murder is one of the best things he’s ever done. And greatly helping matters is one of Goblin’s best scores, which is absolutely awesome.

The plot includes probably a couple too many beats and gets dry in parts. This film probably should’ve been 15-20 minutes shorter. But every time those dynamic murder sequences and pulsating score would bring my back in. Argento is not really doing anything he’s never done before and there’s no deeper meaning to be found here but I agree that it is a worthy romp and the best of the three late period films of his I’ve seen so far.

This would probably play slightly better in a theatre but I can’t imagine it screens a lot and it’s not streaming anywhere. The Scorpion blu-ray looks outstanding but wanted to note there’s an Italian audio track with corresponding English subtitles and an English dub with no corresponding closed captions. There’s not much difference in the script besides some small word choice changes making the subtitled Italian sound slightly more natural. The Italian is the default but Max Von Sydow did his own dub in the English one and he has a very cool sounding voice so I switched over to English in the scenes with him for a little while. But the English voice dubbing around him is sooooo bad and filled with a variety of weird accents while there’s no real issues with the Italian that I ended up just going with the latter the whole way. So while I can’t find any discussion, let alone consensus, on which dub is better, I can confidently say you should go with the Italian and just accept you won’t hear Von Sydow’s dulcet tones.

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