As a thirteen year old, Martha Caldwell witnessed the death of her parents in a terrible railway accident. Barely surviving the tragedy herself, Martha was struck dumb due to the shock. Now... See full summary »
As a thirteen year old, Martha Caldwell witnessed the death of her parents in a terrible railway accident. Barely surviving the tragedy herself, Martha was struck dumb due to the shock. Now an adult, the still mute Martha lives with her uncle Ralph in the Spanish countryside. Martha's cousing Jenny arrives to be with the family but is quickly stabbed to death. It appears that a sex maniac is roaming the countryside; killing pretty young girls. The already traumatized Martha seems likely to be the next victim but the case turns out to be far more complicated than it would first seem. Written by
Umberto Lenzi's Giallo's weren't his strongest point, but the handful that he made was mostly decent. Knife of Ice kind of bridges a gap between the director's best Giallo's - Seven Blood Stained Orchids and Oasis of Fear and his choppier, trashy stuff with films like Spasmo and Eyeball. This film looks nice and seems like it's a high quality production, but somehow it doesn't quite wash as a completely classy thriller. A big weakness here is the plot, as while there is certainly a basis for a good thriller on show; Lenzi doesn't always handle it very well, and it comes off as overly convoluted and the wrong elements are often the ones given the most emphasis. The plot focuses on Martha; a mute woman who invites her cousin over to stay with her and her family. However, the guest soon turns up dead in the garage, and the police are quick to suspect a local hippy as the murderer as it happened at around the same time as another murder in the town. However, as the murders continue it becomes obvious that the killer isn't the hippy at all...
This film is pretty typical of Lenzi's early Giallo work, as it features the lovely Miss Carroll Baker in the lead role, as well as a plot revolving around sound; as seen in the earlier Orgasmo. However, Baker's character in this film isn't entirely likable; more irritating, in fact, and the convoluted Giallo plot doesn't work as well as it does in other Giallo films as it never really feels like there's a great deal going on. Further nuisances include the fact that all of the murders happen off screen - and that's unlikely to please fans of these usually blood-soaked thrillers. However, the film certainly isn't a complete dead loss. Lenzi's direction is stylish and the foreboding mood of the film is well implemented. I've already mentioned the good production values, which work well in spite of the occasional let down with the dubbing (case in point being the accused hippy). Carroll Baker does well in her role, despite it not being a very strong character. The film boils down to the usual unlikely ending, but at least Lenzi has taken the time to explain everything so we're not left wondering. Overall, Knife of Ice isn't a brilliant Giallo - but it's decent enough and just about worth seeing in spite of its flaws.
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