Tenebre: Inspiration Comes In Many Forms

Tenebre is an Italian giallo mystery film directed by Dario Argento. The plot follows American novelist Peter Neal (Anthony Franciosa), who while in Rome promoting his new book becomes wrapped up in a string of murders that seems to have taken inspiration from his narrative.

This film sits somewhere in between The Bird With The Crystal Plumage and Cat O’ Nine Tails for me, which is to say it is somewhere in the middle of those two extremes, it is a pleasant middle ground. This is a clear return to his roots for Argento as it is far less supernatural in delivery then this other late 70’s early 80’s films and goes back to ‘classic’ giallo; though it still does have a religious spirit to it.

I thought the pacing was strong and the mystery kept you guessing up until the last minute. The twist is nothing new, it has been done many times before, but I didn’t see it coming here and though familiar it still had the desired effect and I was shocked.

The kills, which are a big part of Argento’s contribution to giallo, where somewhat anti climatic for me, compared to his earlier films. Yes, they were suitably bloody and theatrical, but it felt like he was running out of ideas here.

The acting is quite strong, Franciosa is left to do most of the heavy lifting which he does with ease, whilst also captivating your attention for the entirety.

Overall, good but not quite BWTCP levels. A break may have been needed.

Pros.

The mystery

The pacing and acting

Back to his roots

Cons.

Weak supporting cast

The kills lack enthusiasm

3/5

Reviewed by Luke

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