Deep Red (1975)

DEEP RED (1975)
(a.k.a. PROFONDO ROSSO)
Article #1142 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-30-2004
Posting Date: 9-27-2004
Directed by Dario Argento
Featuring David Hemmings, Daria Nicolodi, Gabriele Lavia

When a psychic is murdered after picking up the thoughts of a psychotic murderer, a witness to the crime tries to figure out who is responsible. He then finds that the killer is stalking him and anyone who helps him.

Certain movies in these series of write-ups represent landmarks in that they finally serve to introduce me to directors who have become well-known in the genre but who I haven’t yet encountered. This marks the first movie I’ve ever seen by Dario Argento, and though you can’t judge a director like this by one movie, it does serve as a starting point for an exploration of his work. I’ve heard Argento is a master stylist, and there are certainly scenes here that bear that out, particularly during the opening sequence. Other aspects of the movie do leave me less than satisfied. What follows is a list of some of my reactions to various aspects of the movie.

The dubbing – This was definitely a minus; my only print of this was dubbed, and I have no doubt that a subtitled print would have been much more effective. As it is, the dubbing was distracting.

The death scenes – The death scenes are inventively staged. However, some of them seemed a little more outrageous than was strictly necessary. In particular, the last two deaths seemed almost comic.

The story and plot points – Some of the plot points were brilliant and fascinating; my favorites included a message that could only be read with the help of hot water, and the revelation of the significance of the missing picture. On the other hand, some parts of the plot are quite muddled. Though they may sort themselves out on rewatching, I did find it hard to follow on a first watching.

The music – Though the movie makes great use of sound effects at times, and the use of the children’s song motif is quite unnerving, I found myself mostly irritated by the musical soundtrack by Goblin; melodically, it reminded me of those cheap, repetitive synthesizer tracks that passed for music on some of the cheaper made-for-video movies of the eighties.

In conclusion, I found the movie a very mixed bag. Though I can’t say that I was really satisfied with the movie as a whole, nonetheless, I do look forward to seeing more of Argento’s work and getting a better feel for it. There appears to be plenty of it out there.

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