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Not terrible for a 1990's-era Italian gialli, but it certainly doesn't compare to earlier films of the genre
This is 1994 Italian giallo, made at a time when the genre was in serious decline and the once-vaunted Italian film industry had fallen into a state of almost total collapse. Nevertheless, two of the few decent gialli from this era, "Craving Desires" and "Smile of the Fox", both had the creative fingerprints of the Martino brothers, director Sergio and producer Luciano, on them, as this one does as well. The Martino brothers had really pioneered the gialli back in the late 60's/early 70's, and while their 90's films were a pale shadow of their earlier films, I took their names on this one (albeit only as producers) as a reason for cautious optimism.
This does have some strengths. It is filmed partly on a scenic Greek island, but mostly in the scenic Italian mountain town of Cortina (also the setting of several Bond movies and the original "The Pink Panther"). The female lead Vanessa Gravina is no Edwige Fenech (but Edwige Fenech probably wouldn't have been Edwige Fenech either is she'd had to begin her career in the 1990's), still Gravina is generally an asset to the production, very pretty and with a nice natural body. The movie is well-photographed and edited and, unlike a lot of 90's gialli, resists the temptation to simply degenerate into a glossy softcore porn flick. It doesn't bother me the movie liberally borrows elements from classic European and Hollywood films like "Diabolique" and "Gaslight" (it certainly wasn't the only gialli to mine those sources), but it did bother me that the initial plot twist--an abused woman faking her own death to escape her abusive and obsessed artist husband--seems to be borrowed from the then-recent Julia Robert's stinker "Sleeping with the Enemy".
The real problem with this though is that while the first two thirds are somewhat intriguing, it simply runs out of gas after that, and the end is especially weak. Compared to some of the other tedious softcore swill passing itself off as "gialli" in this era, this isn't that bad, but it's definitely not in the class of the two 90's efforts Sergio Martino actually directed (the aforementioned "Craving Desires" and "Smile of the Fox") and it certainly isn't a spot on the original 60's and 70's giallo genre.
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