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'R' follows a character it's hard to care about.
So, our main "protagonist" is thrown inside a prison nobody would ever want to visit.
This review contains spoilers...!
It doesn't take long before the tougher prisoners - 'Mureren' in particular - target him, put him in place, force him to jump through their hoops and accept whatever crap they throw his way... Rune being alone and having no chance to defend himself, doesn't have much choice.
Following a failed drug-smuggling deal, Rune is screwed because he now owes money he can't cough up. 'Mureren' has it in for him - he did stab a friend of 'Mureren' on the outside... So it's time Rune is put out of his misery.
Were we really supposed to care about this guy? I found no reason to root for Rune... He's hardly any better than them, just weaker. Sure, the guy who wastes him is a typical thug - a scumbag member of a gang of scumbags who all belong in there, so I'd give some credit to the actors portraying these low-lifes.
Since the movie could be a somewhat realistic portrayal of life in places like this, props go where they are due.
But it's just bleak. And like Rune - of little redeeming qualities.
Jennifer Connelly brings an alright cult-movie up a notch.
First off, I'm not one to write a review of any movie.
I've watched a few. Enough to know what's what and who's who in the biz, but I'm no film critic.
Main reason I wrote this review is to correct a misunderstanding perceived by a review of the "Creepers" cut VS "Phenomena" :
The chimpanzee is NOT the killer in the "Creepers" cut. I watched the "Creepers" cut myself because I was intrigued by that reviewer's remarks. Either the reviewer remembered wrongly or watched an unknown "Creepers" alternate ending... If there would exist one. I then confirmed by IMDb's FAQ link that no such version (making Tanga/Inga the villain) exists.
I enjoyed Goblin's and Simonetti's score including odd 'Iron Maiden' and 'Motorhead' song choices that a lot of the negative reviewers thought were misplaced - even though those two bands are not really my cup of tea. The overall moody autumn/fall feel coupled with a picturesque Swiss horizon sets a great atmosphere.
Supporting cast was fair. Donald Pleasence's eccentric character made an important contribution. Daria Nicolodi as a seriously deranged character was fun to watch.
The movie is marred by some cheap and embarrassing special effects, trashy gore and low production quality typically associated with the horror/slasher genre.
There is a reason why Dario Argento had only nice things to say about Jennifer.
There is a reason why Jennifer wants to forget she once starred in this.
I'd otherwise rate this one around 4.5-5/10. But Jennifer Connelly's Ms. Corvino lights up the screen with her angelic presence and unusual powers.
If not for Jennifer, there would be no Phenomena.