A newspaper reporter and a retired, blind journalist try to solve a series of killings connected to a pharmaceutical company's experimental, top-secret research projects and in so doing, both become targets of the killer.
A Rome policewoman teams up with a British Interpol agent to find a crafty serial killer whom plays a taunting game of cat-and-mouse with the police by abducting and killing young women and showing it over an Internet web cam.
A college film student, obsessed with the works of Alfred Hitchcock, investigates a murder committed in the apartment building across from his and suspects that his seductive neighbor hired a girlfriend to commit the deed.
A young opera singer (Betty) gets her big chance when the previous star of a production of Verdi's Macbeth is run over by a car. Convinced the opera is bad luck she accepts, and becomes the target (in Argento's unmistakable style) of a psychopath - a man she has been dreaming of since childhood. Written by
David Carroll <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Betty (portrayed pathetically by Cristina Marsillach) is an up-and-coming opera singer, who gets her big break after the star diva breaks her leg. Promoted from understudy she becomes the breakaway star of Guiseppe Verdi's "MacBeth", an opera with a long history of bad luck. During the opening night a murder is committed. Even later that evening a masked man gags Betty and forces her to watch him gut the stage manager after which he lets her go unharmed. Who is the murderer and what wicked game is he playing? Dario Argento during the years mastered his trademarks, which include long travelling shots, exquisite classic-inspired sumptuous settings as well as the use of colour (with a specific obsession with red ochre) to instill an unrelenting all-engulfing atmosphere. This time however Dario exaggerated and overused the long shots making his typical slow pace virtually stop to a halt. Almost nothing happens during over 100 minutes, albeit when it finally does occur it is engrossing and damn near to perfection.
Sadly this movie has probably one of the worse scores in any Argento movie, save for the absolutely classical and unmistakable captivating beauty of Verdi's "MacBeth". The remaining music however consists mostly of loud and severely outdated heavy metal, that cruelly rape the ears and kill visual enjoyment.
Additionally this is probably Argento's 'easiest' movie in the sense, that the script is severely underdeveloped and lacks the prerequisite mystery. Shortly after the first murder it becomes quite apparent that there is only one possibly killer. I naturally expected some twist to turn the events upside down (however illogical the twist), but none happened and the only possible culprit does not fail to not surprise. At the same time he must be one of the stupidest Argento murderers ever with plotting and ideas so thinly planned out, that were it not for the even more imbecilic victims he would have been caught within 30 minutes. But when victims fail to finish him off after knocking him unconscious with an iron or policemen require several days to differentiate a corpse from a mannequin this villain gets more screen time than he deserves.
The only mystery worth finding out concerns the reason to the murderer's killing spree, which is suitably wicked and Argento-style twist. Also the ending itself is devious, albeit a lot of substance lost due to the terrible Marsillach, who lacks enough vibrant emotion to convey the terrible truth. All in all not a bad movie, but I fail to find anything worth note in this ultimately repetitive and flawed Argento thriller.
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