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This one is enough to test the patience of even the most tolerant fan of horror films with an "elliptical" narrative. For me, "Manhattan Baby" was a no-win situation.
The opening was halfway decent, albeit entirely unoriginal: an archaeologist ventures into the proverbial "cursed tomb". At the same time, his daughter is visited by a strange woman with white eyes who gives her a silly-looking medallion.
The father is blinded and upon their return to "Manhattan", the strange things begin to happen. The film was immediately plunged into "uh-oh" territory the moment I realized the young girl had a brother--none other than the annoying little blonde-haired moppet from "House By The Cemetery", even more terribly dubbed than in that film, and just as grotesque.
The film lags in several areas. First off, there is no suspense. The film never makes it entirely clear what is happening whenever something does happen. The kids disappear into their closet, screaming, but then reappear as if nothing has happened (and the parents never notice). Other people disappear into bright lights and never return. Characters recoil in horror from insert-shots of snakes and scorpions, but then suddenly seem as if everything is fine and the snake was never there. Some miscellaneous characters die in weird ways, like a security guard who takes an unfortunate elevator ride. Is he even missed by anybody? We never know. There is an "au pair" girl who suddenly turns up missing. The children smile cryptically to each other when the parents ask where she went. Do the parents inform the authorities that their babysitter is missing? Of course not.
There are some silly references to "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Exorcist", too, none of which seem clever or surprising. There is too much logic sidestepped and nothing to take its place. The special effects are muddled, at best. The score by Fabio Frizzi is recycled (cannibalized?) from his own score for "Zombi 2". The climax of the film is ridiculous.
This movie might make your head hurt, or your eyes close.
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