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A teacher who is having an affair with one of his students takes her out on a boat. They see a knife killing on shore. Other gruesome murders start occurring shortly thereafter, and the teacher suspects that he may be the cause of them. Written by
If you are reading this review, then the likelihood is that you already know firsthand or have a very good idea of what a great giallo thriller this film is. I don't want to say too much, because as anyone who has seen this film already knows, divulging even the most minor details can potentially spoil everything. This much I CAN say:
Elizabeth is a young woman having an affair with her married Catholic high school teacher, Henry. One one rendezvous she witnesses what she believes to be a murder committed by a man dressed like a priest. Sure enough the body of one of Elizabeth's classmates turns up, and not long after more of her classmates show up dead. The only apparent link is that all of them are attending the same Catholic high school, and all of them are killed in the same shocking manner (I won't divulge the vital MO used by the killer, but I will say that you'll be glad it's not explicitly shown!). But as sophisticated giallo fans know, there is indeed a connection between this string of dead girls. It's up to Elizabeth, Henry, and Herta to uncover the dark secret of exactly what has been done to Solange...
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SOLANGE? gets off to a rather slow start, and I have to admit that for the first 30 min or so I thought that the film was going to be a vastly overrated disappointment. However, much to my satisfaction, I was quite wrong. Although it takes a while to get there, once this movie gets going, it simply does not let up. That's not to say that it has a particularly fast pace, but the story unfolds with so many twists and turns and new characters that mystery fans will be tingling with glee. As if the intriguing title were not enough, the slowly but surely unfolding technique of the screenplay will leave your mouth watering for a big pay off. And, unlike 99% of otherwise good thrillers, this movie has an extraordinary denouement. The final minutes of the film will shock you, stun you, and have you starting the film all over again. Furthermore, the killer's identity in the film is not only a surprise, but it also makes perfect sense in the context of the story...a rare feat achieved in thrillers, but one which caps off the film quite nicely (to say the least!).
I would not go so far as to say that I could see this film being written/directed by Dario Argento, because it is not quite as exciting or edgy or offbeat as his works. However, unlike many of the giallo thrillers that have managed to make it to the US (dozens and dozens were produced in Italy during the early 70s, only a fraction of which were distributed in the US one way or another), "Solange" is a film which can certainly be ranked on the same level as some of Argento's classics. I might not put it up there with Deep Red or Tenebre, but I'd certainly place it on the same ranks as The Animal Trilogy.
Even if you have never seen this film before, I can assure you that it will be worth owning for any fans of thrillers/gialli/Italian horror. It's simply stunning, and speaking as an avid fan of Hitchcock, Bava, and Argento, I cannot recommend it enough.
My Grade: A
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