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(Review originally written at 26 January 2007)

Italian horror movies from the '70's really aren't known for their brilliant writing or originality. "Profondo rosso" is however a surprising and wonderful exception.

"Profondo rosso" is a movie that brilliant mixes its mystery elements with its horror.

From the intro sequences on I just knew this was going to be a great movie that I would love. The opening perfectly illustrates how this movie is going to be; moody, violent, lots of implying and off-screen horror and greatly mysterious.

The movie is perhaps more a mystery/thriller than a horror really. Its style and story can perhaps be compared to the classic Nicolas Roeg movie "Don't Look Now". It's the build up and the things you don't see on screen that makes this movie so scary and atmospheric. Hearing the footsteps of the approaching killer, while that creepy child-song is playing at the background, while the killer comes closer and closer and eventually is whispering behind the locked door 'I'm going to kill you soon!' is way more creepier than a CGI ghost appearing out of a wall. The is a genuine creepy movie and yes, I know it sounds cliché but they really don't make them like this anymore.

Italian horror movies always have been more brutal and graphic than Hollywood movies and even Japanese ones and yes, this movie really is no exception to that. The deaths in this movie are very brutal and graphic and extremely bold and straightforward. It isn't always convincing looking but the tone and straightforwardness of it all still makes the movie look very gory. So fans of Italian horror and gore will also not be disappointed by the movie.

The story is quite simple and it features two or three too many needless side-plots and characters. It really isn't the best movie written around but its greatly directed with an excellent and mysterious build up and is beautifully visualized. The movie still mostly leaves you guessing till the end and once you think you've finally figured things out, there turns out to be another surprise around the corner. The movie features a couple of good 'false' endings and a good surprise twist at the end, that I at least didn't see coming.

The movie features many classic horror elements, such as a creepy house, a psychotic killer, a creepy child (this is typically Italian horror like) and lots of killings. The movie has a nightmarish like atmosphere. Some of the sequences are beautifully brought to the screen and there are some highly imaginative sequence involving the killer. It makes the movie both visually and storytelling-wise a success. Definitely one of Dario Argento's better works.

A beautiful and chilling surprise that is highly recommendable.

9/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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