Wednesday, November 19, 2014

1985 - PHENOMENA - Another Argento gore film

A very attractive and very young Jennifer Connelly is the heroine of this Dario Argento film which features a lot of disgusting killings by a homicidal maniac, lots of gore and dead body parts.  That's entertainment I guess.  The twist in Phenomena is that Connelly has some sort of psychic powers that allow her to communicate with insects.  Connelly and the insects team up to track down the killer.

Argento keeps Connelly dressed mostly in virginal white outfits and manages at one point to have her wandering around in her underwear.  It sounds exploitative and it probably is but in this film Connelly is a fairly tough little cookie facing down the psycho killer.  The big problem with casting Connelly was that she just couldn't act.  Connelly struggles to look like she is actually worried about all these disgusting killings of students at the all girls school she attends but she comes off like she lost some of her Barbie dolls instead.

I have to give it to Argento, even with all the gore and nasty killings he does bring a lot of style of the film.  I think the question is at what point does the film cross the line?  At times Argento seems like a nasty little kid whose idea of fun is pulling the wings off of live flies. 

Well there's never a dull moment in this Argento film and the soundtrack choices are very effective.  This giallo film is probably mostly for fans of the director and I am guessing his fans are a rather strange bunch if they get off on this stuff.  Stylish gory horror films are only going to get you so far in your film career.

110 minutes.

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