"The Possessed" is a wonderfully atmospheric proto-giallo based on one of Italy's most notorious crimes, the Alleghe killings, and adapted from the book on that case by acclaimed literary figure Giovanni Comisso. Peter Baldwin stars as Bernard, a depressed novelist who sets off in search of his old flame Tilde (Virna Lisi), a beautiful maid who works at a remote lakeside hotel. Bernard is warmly greeted by the hotel owner Enrico (Salvo Randone) and his daughter Irma (Valentina Cortese), but Tilde has disappeared under suspicious circumstances. Bernard undertakes an investigation and is soon plunged into a disturbing drama of familial secrets, perversion, madness and murder...
Great atmospheric thriller
- The Possessed review by LC
Not expecting much, I was pretty blown away by this film. Give another treatment, this could have been a fairly standard thriller/murder mystery, but the direction and black and white cinematography is gorgeous, and the whole thing is dripping in atmosphere. The plot doesn't so much progress from standard investigative procedure, as by a series of intuitive flashbacks and hallucinatory fever-dreams, which gives everything a strange dreamlike feel. The only reason I'm not giving this the full 5 out of 5, is that when the final explanation comes it is perhaps not quite as fulfilling as the lead up has been, but this is still a hugely impressive work. If you like 'Psycho', or the better Dario Argento films, this is definately one to watch.