Rolf’s review published on Letterboxd:
A young man (Lino Capolicchio) travels to a village to restore a painting in a church. Soon he's obsessed with it wanting to find out about its shady painter whose two sisters might have committed some horrible crimes depicted in his work...
A deeply disturbing Giallo which creates an eerie atmosphere of constant threat. Even places and buildings are scary here, having witnessed gruelling deeds which seems to (literally) have made them as rotten as those people using them. The small town population may hide a dark secret, some too afraid of laying it open, others too indifferent.
As the protagonist we are the outsider trying to figure out what has happened to those people, to this place. The movie may be a slow burn but really benefits from letting us spending time with Capolicchio's character and his encounters with the villagers and places.
There are only a few Giallo tropes (I could have done without the funny voice on the phone cliché) here, so those wanting to experience a slasher type flick might be disappointed even though there is some truly nasty violence in here which doesn't happen often but when it dies, it hurts.
The reveal of the town's secret is one of the greatest ones in Giallo history and I dare to say the audience was never more fooled than here with a killer's identity.
In an interview with writer/director Avati Pupi he told that the original ending was even more bleak but I liked its ambiguity and it never even occurred to me that the hand shown in the last shot could be of a policeman as he suggested.
Overall, this is essential viewing for any fans of Italian genre cinema.
Make or Break Scene: The House with Laughing Windows.
MVT: The locations.
Score: 7.5 / 10