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 young man tries to help a teenage European girl who escaped from a clinic hospital after witnessing the murder of her parents by a serial killer and they try to find the killer before the killer finds them.
With Argento's trademark visual style, linked with one of his more coherent plots, Tenebrae follows a writer who arrives to Rome only to find somebody is using his novels as the inspiration (and, occasionally, the means) of committing murder. As the death toll mounts the police are ever baffled, and the writer becomes more closely linked to the case than is comfortable.Written by
David Carroll <email@example.com>
A sample of the film's theme song ('Tenebre') by Goblin appears in the songs 'Phantom' and 'Phantom pt.2' by French house duo Justice, on their album 'Cross' (2007). See more »
On the telephone, the killer tells Peter Neal that "you wrote those words, page 46," but in fact the words quoted would have had to be on an odd-numbered page of the book TENEBRAE, given the placement of the text we see in the opening sequence. See more »
Let me ask you something? If someone is killed with a Smith & Wesson revolver... Do you go and interview the president of Smith & Wesson?
See more »
Anne's screams continue even as the ending credits roll. See more »
The hand chopping was shortened by 4 seconds for a British cinema certificate, and this version was also released on video before 1984. In that year, videos were then required to be classified seperately from cinema releases in the UK. See more »
I really like Argento-horror and Tenebrae sure ranks as my second favorite film of his. But, by no means I can refer to his films as being genre-masterpieces. They merely are top-notch entertainment for the more demanding horror fans. Yet, Dario's films always show a lot of directorial style and compelling suspense. Argento films somewhat float between classics and oblivion. With Tenebrae, Argento once again proves himself to be a master of suspense. A master of plotting, however, he is not. The film tells the story of a successful American horror author who comes to Rome to promote his latest work: A semi-perverted and anti-feminist horror novel called duh Tenebrae. Along with the writer's arrival in Rome, a sadistic killing spree terrorizes the city. In order to practice his filthy hobby, the killer closely follows the writer's new book line by line. Roman police forces lack complete professionalism as usual and our Yank starts his own little investigation.
I'll be the first to admit that Tenebrae contains genuinely creepy moments. Like, for example, when a young girl is accidentally trapped within the killer's mansion after being chased by an aggressive dog. That particular sequence is a pure piece of Argento-brilliance. Almost ten minutes of scares and a swirling camera style, guided by compelling music. But, as opposed to outstanding sequences like this, there are too many uninspired, rubbish sequences in which Argento desperately tries to keep the killer's identity hidden. Not highly efficient and exaggeratedly gross. The film is a bit long and a scene cut here or there would have been appropriate. I guess Argento saved up all the 'cutting' exclusively for the victims in his script. Another slight disappointment in Tenebrae (although this may be very personal) is that John Saxon is dreadfully underused. Saxon is one of the most charismatic B-actors ever, but he barely has any screen time. What the hell is that about, Dario? But, for the gorehounds among us, Tenebrae easily is one of Argento's sickest, most violent films. Slit throats blood-colored walls axe dismemberments and some other filthy tricks. By the end of the film, the entire cast is neatly exterminated. Very convenient, no?
At the beginning of this review, I mentioned that Tenebrae is my second favorite Argento film. This film is only outshined by (Terror at the) Opera! That particular sickie is less hyped than the rest of Argento's repertoire, but a lot more slick, clever and shocking.
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