Part two of my back-to-back reviews for Dario Argento films. Yesterday featured the widely appreciated Suspiria and today will star his 1975 serial killer film Deep Red.
Upon viewing it now, those lost in the run and gun style of current horror might find it too retro, slow moving, and visually unappealing. But Deep Red, to the horror veteran, is a prime example of classic terror and the form most buffs wish the genre would return to. Directed by cult favourite Dario Argento. Deep Red is a paced hour and forty five minutes, riddled with reddish goo and creepy circumstances. An added benefit of Deep Red is its intelligent level is raised than most of the genre films from that time. In keeping the viewer guessing until the very end, Deep Red knows it needs to provide the goods throughout and does so in sickening fashion. Starring David Hemmings, Gabriele Lavia, and Macha Meril, Deep Red’s cast and crew pack a potent punch mentally and visually while being accompanied by a startling soundtrack.
With an eerie, innocent song playing, a scream echo’s throughout several rooms and a bloody knife is tossed at the feet of a child. Later, a psychic named Helga (Meril) attends a presentation. While reading the minds of some of the audience members, Helga has a violent outburst. She has witnessed images from a foul mind and states that the owner of these thoughts has murdered and plans to again. At her apartment, Helga begins to hear a children’s song playing. When the doorbell rings, Helga approaches the door but has a psychic intuition and backs away from the door. At the same moment, the killer bursts into the room and murders Helga. Down in the street below, Marcus (Hemmings) witnesses Helga break through her apartment window and rushes to attend to her. When Marcus becomes curious as to irregularities in the apartment, he sets out to uncover the identity of the killer.
I feel that I need to touch on this. It is a rare occasion when a film is just as sound structurally as it is musically. The compositions are incredibly ominous and bone chilling.Teetering between sweetly innocent and dangerously hectic. The contrasting sensation of what you’re hearing and what you’re seeing is intoxicatingly uncomfortable. As for the gore and its authenticity…One is more abundant than the other. While there is a substantial amount of blood, it has the look and consistency of red paint. Once you’re able to get over the dubious mush spewing from vicious lacerations, Deep Red is how horror should be treated. Argento was able to perfect his entries into the “giallo” genre over time and Deep Red was the beginning of it. Followed by the widely praised Suspiria, Argento’s Deep Red helped redefine a genre and inspire fellow horror enthusiasts like John Carpenter.
Deep Red: 7.5 out of 10.