Monday, October 9, 2017

Film Review: Inferno (1980)

Inferno (Review)
Italy/1980
Format Viewed For Review: Shudder
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"...one of those rare horror films with immersive atmosphere, an attractive style, genuine horror, and an engaging story."

An American college student in Rome returns to New York after receiving an ominous letter from his sister...

Inferno is a sequel to Suspiria—but you actually don't have to watch Suspiria to understand this film. The plot follows siblings Mark Elliot (Leigh McCloskey), who is studying Musicology in Rome, and Rose Elliot (Irene Miracle), a poet living in New York. Rose discovers a book about the Three Mothers—three evil sisters who live in different buildings around the world, controlling everything through sorrow, tears, and darkness. Rose is convinced she lives in one of those buildings. Terrified, she asks her brother to visit her home. So, Mark drops everything and goes to New York. But, now his sister is missing. So, he decides to continue Rose's investigation. It leads to an interesting ending. It worked, but the costume design kind of throws it off.

Inferno is a great film, though. The plot is engaging and creative. The elements of mystery and the fascinating lore, for want of a better word, kept me glued to my seat. There are some dull moments in the film, though. These moments are either unnecessarily slow or dragged out. This causes the film to lose momentum at times. Story issues aside, Inferno works well as a horror film. It's stylish, violent, and atmospheric. There's a scene I love where the power in an apartment goes on and off, creating an excellent blend of style and suspense. If you like Argento films, especially those from his prime years, I think you'll like this one.

The acting isn't great, but it's good enough. Leigh McCloskey is often stiff and robotic, but he's not bad. He could use more emotion, but I've seen worse. Irene Miracle was good. In fact, I think most of the supporting cast was solid. The cinematography and camerawork are great. I love the lighting in Argento films—red and blue are beautiful. The music was great, too. The film was written and directed by Dario Argento. Although there are some pacing and filler issues, Argento knew how to craft an effective and beautiful horror film. This may not be his best work, but it's still a great piece of horror cinema.

Overall, Inferno is a very good movie. It has a few issues—the pacing, the filler, the acting—but it's not a bad film. It's one of those rare horror films with immersive atmosphere, an attractive style, genuine horror, and an engaging story. It goes far beyond your typical ghost story and that should be applauded.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, brief nudity.

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