Stylish and sprawling ...
- Tenebrae review by NP
This is a stylish, sprawling giallo from Director Dario Argento. Writer Peter Neale is played by 50-something Anthony Franciosa, surrounded by a cheery, adoring gaggle of young ladies whenever he flashes his pearly whites. Unlike a lot of giallo leading men, however, Neale is likeable and a gentleman, at least most of the time, and Franciosca plays him very well. Some nicely paced set-pieces put the victims through their paces in a memorably punishing manner, often topped off with more than a splash of thick red blood.
Supporting players include the appealing Christian Borromeo as possible suspect Gianni, and the familiar face of John Saxon, who was prolific in film and television at this time, is Bullmer.
The star of the show though, is undoubtedly Argento’s wondrous directorial flourishes. The squealing, electronic prog-rock soundtrack is provided by the idiosyncratic band Goblin. Like their other incidental scores it is somewhat ‘full on’ at times, but nevertheless injects various scenes with a sense of perverse dread, and enters fully into the director’s somewhat gaudy style.
‘Tenebrae’ saw the welcome return of Argento to the world of giallo after delving into pure supernatural horror for his last few ventures. It proved he hadn’t lost his stylish approach to the genre and remains a favourite of mine. The ending, where there is revelation upon revelation, is particularly successful. If you are considering venturing into the world of ‘Tenebrae’ for the first time, I advise you to avoid spoilers! My score for this is 8 out of 10.
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