In this heavily plotted Giallo from director / co-writer Antonio Bido, two brothers have a reunion that unfortunately goes sour when graphic murders begin to take place. Stefano D'Archangelo (Lino Capolicchio), the professor, works the clues while taking the time to romance Sandra (Stefania Casini), a new acquaintance, while his priest brother Don Paolo (Craig Hill) is worried that he will be among the victims when he witnesses an assault and soon starts receiving threatening notes. Not all fans of Italys' Giallo genre may be too enamoured with this one as it simply isn't as trashy as some of them. The murders do get fairly intense (one victim has their head shoved into a roaring fire) but the amount of bloodshed is minimal (title of the film notwithstanding). There is also a sex scene and nudity from Casini, but these are done in a tasteful manner, perhaps too tasteful for some of the viewers. While Bidos' direction is good, he never lets style take over, preferring to concentrate first and foremost on telling the story. He lets his film unfold at a very deliberate pace; he devotes a fair amount of time to Stefanos' courting of the lovely Sandra, who works as a painter. As a result, one might grow impatient waiting for the next major set piece. Still, when these set pieces come, they prove worth the wait, such as a sequence of Sandra being stalked as she heads home. The twists are decent and keep the audience guessing; there are of course red herrings and the identity of the disturbed killer might come as a shock to some. One of the strongest assets here is the way Bido utilizes the Venice setting; the sights and sounds are a pleasure to take in. The music score by Stelvio Cipriani runs hot and cold - sometimes it's quite atmospheric, at others it's just too offbeat to really work, especially when it's used for suspense sequences. The cast is solid, with Capolicchio and Hill making for a likable sibling duo; Capolicchio is also a refreshingly different sort of hero as he has a real average Joe quality. This isn't among the absolute best of its kind but it's still pretty good; aficionados should be reasonably satisfied. The ending is awfully abrupt, though. Seven out of 10.
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