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Giallo

Italy / Spain / USA / UK 2009
produced by
Rafael Primorac, Richard Rionda Del Castro, Adrien Brody, Donald A. Barton (executive), Luis de Val (executive), Billy Dietrich (executive), Patricia Eberle (executive), Oscar Generale (executive), Nesim Hason (executive), Lisa Lambert (executive), Martin McCourt (executive), David Milner (executive) for Hannibal Pictures, Giallo Production Ltd, Opera Film Produzione, Media Films
directed by Dario Argento
starring Adrien Brody, Elsa Pataky, Emmanuelle Seigner, Robert Miano, Silvia Spross, Giuseppe Lo Console, Valentina Izumi, Daniela Fazzolari, Lorenzo Pedrotti, Taiyo Yamanouchi, Liam Riccardo, Barbara Mautino, Anna Varello, Linda Messerlinker, Lorenzo Ceppodomo, Nicolò Morselli, Maryann McIver, Giancarlo Judica Cordiglia, Patrick Oldani, Farhad Re, Massimo Franceschi, Andrea Redavid
written by Jim Agnew, Sean Keller, Dario Argento, music by Marco Werba, special effects makeup by Sergio Stivaletti

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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When on her way home to meet with her sister Linda (Emmanuelle Seigner) who has come to visit from abroad, model Celine (Elsa Pataky) is kidnapped by her cabdriver, a pervert who has made it his habit to brutally torture and then kill his victims.

When Celine doesn't show up even though she has called her only minutes before, Linda gets worried, and the next day she wants to report her as a missing person - but is only directed to weirdo cop Enzo Avolfi (Adrien Brody), who investigates a serkialkiller's killing spree - and Celine's description perfectly fits his killer's victim profile. At first, Enzo, a loner with a dark past (he killed the killer of his mother), doesn't want to have anything to do with Linda, but she is persistent, and eventually the two of them work on the case together and by and by piece together a puzzle - but the final and decisive clue comes from another victim of the killer, a Japanese girl (Valentina Izumi), who just before dying can utter two words about the killer, "yellow skin" ... and that coming from an Asian girl is probably not a rather rude paraphrase for the killer being Asian. So Linda figures the killer must have some kind of liver malfunction and thus must be in need of constant medication.

Linda is right of course, and the fact that his skin is yellow and he is pretty ugly has made him a killer in the first place, a killer of beautiful young women to be precise. Linda and Enzo are on the lookout for the killer at a local clinic, and soon enough he shows up, too - but escapes Enzo when he tries to apprehend him. But now he and Linda have a name to pin onto him, and an address, too ... where they find neither him nor Celine, but a laptop containing photos of her being tortured.

The killer meanwhile is so upset about the police finally being on his trail that he drops his guard for a bit - just enough for Celine to make an escape - and almost successfully, too.

From the photos, the police can tell that Celine must be held at an abandoned gas plant, and they are quick to get to the place and comb it thoroughly. It is the place alright, they figure that much, but no trace of either Celine or the killer.

Nope, the killer shows up at Linda's doorstep and tries to force her to get him medication and get him out of the country in exchange for her sister - but then Enzo busts in all charged up, and believing he is saving Linda by doing so, he kills the killer, who doesn't give away where he has hidden Celine ... who unbeknowest to everyone lies tied up but alive in the trunk of a public parking garage, where she might never be found ...

 

To call your movie after a film genre - giallos were Italian-produced serialkiller whodunnits with strong horror influences that were extremely popular in the 1970's - might be a bit preposterous, but then again, director Dario Argento was around when the genre flourished, helped to bring it to full bloom and made some of the best and most enduring genre entries, so who else but him to make a film called Giallo?

Unfortunately, while Argento's films from the 1970's and also 1980's were often ingenious, Giallo is just a middle-of-the-road serialkiller flick. Sure, all the elements are at least theoretically in the right places to make this film a genuine giallo, but there is nothing on top of that: What Dario Argento has delivered here is a film lacking his usual ingenuity, and apart from the killer's death it's also devoid of his trademark breathtaking setpieces. And he even shies away from too graphic violence, which he in the past managed to put to film like no other. Add to this a formulaic script full of clichée-filled yet bland characters and a wooden cast (especially Adrien Brody gives a terrible performance) and you are left with - not the worst film ever but a film certainly not worthy of Dario Argento.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD