Watchable and entertaining enough but definitely disappointing anthology horror
I really wanted to like this one more, I wanted to sit down and watch, be engrossed, thrilled and intrigued and to be able to rest at the end thinking that Italian horror is still an important force this decade and not just the source of little more than a small smattering of good films. Things looked promising with Sergio Stivaletti directing, a man who has worked on the special effects for a number of Italian horrors, including the odd solid classic like Demons. He also made his directorial debut with the almost superb Wax Mask, to which this film does not really compare. The plot has a hypnotist sending three strangers on a train into their own sinister paths and the stories deal with a werewolf, plastic surgery and a lake monster. The main problem with the film is its ambition, which unfortunately the budget is ill equipped to support. This problem highlights the shortcomings in the writing and combines with the issue of the dubbing to knock holes in the film in terms of quality. The film sets out to pay tribute to classic horror, with various references to other Italian films, the hypnotist being named Professor Price and an ending that follows the lines of an old anthology horror which afficionados may recognise. The direction is decent, good angles, use of the locations and camera moves to make the most of the action, but the film is shot on digital video and so a cheap appearance is unavoidable since it tries to hark back to films that frequently looked relatively sumptuous. There are a few weak effects as well, mostly the non practical ones, cgi and such, but the practical effects are mostly decent. There is fun to be had in the first story, fine suspense in the second and a likable cheesiness and fun twist to the third. The music, mostly synth noodling, is sometimes fun but often cheesy and sometimes lame, whilst the dubbing is almost entirely inept and lame, with a few really shoddy moments. The film is ultimately quite entertaining in a few spots, and its pretty easy viewing but in the end I can only really recommend it to completists, as it is liable to be lacking in value for others.
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