I tried to like this film, I really did. Beautiful setting, inspired old school plotting, a certain nasty spirit, Christopher Roth should have been a winner. Instead, it's a bizarre exercise in how a film can screw up despite having all the right elements on surface. It tells the distinctly giallo style tale of Christopher Roth, a writer of gruesome crime novels who holidays to Umbria as he searches for inspiration to go beyond his regular work which he fears is taking its toll on his psyche. Unfortunately the region is plagued by a grim serial killer nicknamed "The Boar" It's a good set up, but really becomes mouth watering when one notes that the make up effects are handled by Italian horror veteran Gianetto De Rossi. And yet, after a decent enough build up, nearly everything goes pear shaped. About the only aspect that consistently holds up is the acting, Joaquim De Almeida squeezes every inch of interest out of the underwritten title role, Anna Galiena apt as his caring yet at times confused and on edge wife. Ben Gazzara has a neat cameo as Christopher's agent, Francesco Guzzo has the right mixture of welcome and shiftiness as a local, while most notable is Jessica Bonnani as a dark, sultry local daughter, she truly draws the eye with tantalising presence. Its just a shame that the film gives them little to do, the writing is confused about plot and themes, revelations are rushed and motivations fumbled. Potential interest dissipates into the ether as events roll on and the film loses grip, but the worst sin is to come. As mentioned, this film has a veteran on make up effects, it also slots into a genre fabled for audacious violence. Yet, there is only one gore scene of note here, as most are either poorly lit or directed. Director Maxime Alexandre has a background in cinematography so it's unforgivable that the lighting is weak enough to spoil much of the gore, he also shoots violence too tightly so the viewer can hardly even get satisfaction by really peering into the dark. He at least shoots the location well though, which is something. I got the feeling by the end that I might have been missing something, I paid attention throughout, but the film feels sketchy, as if there were too much editing going on, things just about make sense but none of it really gels. By the halfway mark I was worried this was going to turn out bad, it rallies for a few gnarly scenes and has a bit of a nasty edge that is enough for me to be generous, but basically by the end I was pretty ticked off by this one. Something to skip I'd say, unfortunately..
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