Giallo (Dario Argento) 2009

A woman is kidnapped by a mass murderer called Giallo (yellow). The victim’s sister goes to the lead investigator of the murders Inspector Enzo Avolfi (Adrien Brody) for help.

It’s a shame to admit that aside from say, Suspiria, I never really got into Dario Argento. One of the men responsible for creating the Giallo genre of film and I can’t really get into his films. While I think he has a brilliant visual style in his prime, I thought he had deficiencies in about every other aspect of his movies. So I guess if you are an Argento fan you can take this review with a grain of salt although from what I’ve read, even Argento fans are lukewarm to it.

I suppose my problem with this movie is it doesn’t quite know what tone it wants to show. It seems like the movie wants to be a gritty and bloody horror movie. Much of the time we linger on Giallo torturing his victims (although it seems like his gore effects haven’t changed much since the 70’s) and we are supposed to be shocked. The rest of the movie is so over the top that you almost think it is a parody. Adrien Brody’s character is the biggest reason for this. He is every gritty, burned out psycho cop stereotype you have ever seen. Brody takes the role to 11 as he constantly squints his eyes, grumbles out really bad lines, chain smokes, and mentions at the drop of a hat that he has “a past…”. The story is so poorly written that I kept debating with myself whether this was intentionally bad or if Argento really did give a crap.

The acting is not anything that remarkable. Adrien Brody is the top billed star (and producer) but as I mentioned before he is hamstrung by terrible writing. There is nothing to really showcase his talents. And aside from the standard love interest role by Emmanuelle Seigner, no one else has appreciable screen time.

I don’t want to completely bury this movie. The killer was somewhat interesting and there was some tension with him stalking his victims. You could see an entertaining (if somewhat forgettable) horror movie at the right times. However the awkward writing and at times, ponderous pace keeps me from really enjoying it. Overall Giallo is a big ‘meh’ for me. It wasn’t horrible by any stretch but I don’t see anything to really recommend; even to Dario Argento fans.


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