Eva is an accidental witness of the death of a young girl, even more: she's got it all on tape. Shortly hereafter she encounters Dieter, a charming young man. These two facts cause a chain ...
See full summary »
A band of medieval mercenaries take revenge on a noble lord who decides not to pay them by kidnapping the betrothed of the noble's son. As the plague and warfare cut a swathe of destruction... See full summary »
Jennifer Jason Leigh,
Tom, a young and idealistic left wing journalist, is about to settle with his girl friend when his life and views get shaken up by the young and beautiful Pakistani refugee Nadia. At work ... See full summary »
Koen De Graeve,
Tom Vansant is an emergency physician from Brussels who is desperately searching for his daughter who ran away from home and is now missing for eighteen months. He meets a girl of whom he ... See full summary »
Frank van Mechelen
Koen De Bouw,
Anna breaks up with Bruno after he has cheated on her with their son Boris's schoolteacher. But her far too young lover can only temporarily offer distraction. Arno and her best friend ... See full summary »
Michel van Dousselaere,
Eva is an accidental witness of the death of a young girl, even more: she's got it all on tape. Shortly hereafter she encounters Dieter, a charming young man. These two facts cause a chain of events that changes not only her life, but also that of her friends in a brutal way... Written by
Everyone who owns the Belgian film "De Potloodmoorden" will explain the film's presence in the collection with the excuse that the movie isn't good, but that you should own it for its novelty value. "De Potloodmoorden" is credited as the first Belgian attempt at a giallo (the Italian equivalent of a film noir, with - if possible - added gore and nudity). The only other film coming close of the giallo genre was the lackluster "The Antwerp Killer" (some gore, no nudity, no plot whatsover, no sign of anyone with the ability to act). And now in the year 2002, only thirty years after the best gialli were made, comes "Alias", a film by Jan Verheyen.
Verheyen is, as mentioned elsewhere, apart from director also the host of Filmnight Special, a Friday night show for lovers of cult cinema. This, of course, shouts for a quick and cheap reference to Alex Cox, the British director who was allowed to give his opinion on movies shown in the BBC2 series Moviedrome. There is an interesting analogy here, but I will explain that later. Whereas Filmnight Special started as a cheap excuse to show some trash the channel had to buy to get blockbuster, the second and third series focused on more interesting movies and some months even had a theme: Hammer films, gore (Cannibal Holocaust, films by Peter Jackson and Lucio Fulci), cult classics, interesting failures and the Worst Films Ever (open another page to see why From Hell It Came, Trog and The Frozen Dead were aptly chosen). Only one movie could pass as a giallo: The New York Ripper. Maybe Jan Verheyen should've dedicated a month to this genre, it certainly would have made some comments friendlier.
At its worst, a giallo is a boring thriller with a misogynous undertone where women get to show as many body parts as possible before having their throat slit. At its best, it's an equal to the film noir with suspence, an erotic undertone and (still) buckets of blood. "Alias" does to the giallo what "Straight To Hell" (by Alex Cox) does to the spaghetti western: it's an ode to a genre, showing not only the highlights, but also the weaknesses. Having seen a few gialli certainly helps to appreciate "Alias". It's far from perfect, occasionally too vulgar (which can be expected in a film by Verheyen) and some performances really are terribly poor (I did my best not to cheer whenever a bad actor was killed). Still, Verheyen deserves all the credit we can find for casting Hilde De Baerdemaeker, who is staggering in her debut film.
In an era where too many movies are far too clean, an ode to the giallo is more than welcome. That this was made by a movie buff who knows how to direct, is a great plus. Fanatics will certainly recognize the hints at films by Mario Bava, Dario Argento and even a few less familiar names, which is also nice as the line between hommage and rip-off is very fine indeed. Verheyen managed to keep his balance and make a nice film that I gave 8/10. Which, incidently, is also the score I gave to most good gialli. Told you it was a hommage.
7 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?