Going through a Dario Argento phase it seems.
I started watching/re-watching the director's 'classics' the other week starting with the goofy but completely enjoyable Phenomena. And now it's Tenebrae's turn.
Well, no apes this time I'm afraid.
This one sees a writer being stalked by a serial killer who keeps getting rid of young ladies all over town in increasingly creative ways. It's a somewhat self-involved whodunit with the semblance of a plot and some inventive camerawork. That's pretty much it. Oh, and the usual mix of shattered glass and breasts thrown in, of course.
I think one of the reasons why Tenebrae is so hard to warm up to as a movie is that you don't really get a main character. You don't really get one person you can get behind and follow through the whole thing. Peter Neal's writer is our beacon keeping the plot afloat, for sure, but he's not interesting, he has little personality and his scenes tend to drag to the point where you're just waiting for those murders to happen half the time. As for the other characters, they're either red-herrings or obvious victims. It doesn't help that the acting is as awkward as you'd expect, by the way.
Basically I never really cared about the people getting killed or what was going on with the story. I mean, why wouldn't the writer of a book called Tenebrae, a book which inspired every single murder, all of which started happening when he came to town not be the prime suspect? I don't know, I guess the cop was dodgy too so who knows. Couldn't get into that plot and didn't think most of it made any sense, especially the ending.
But the real problem here is that it's not fun. Most of the time it's kinda dull. Yes there's a lol here and there and the gore effects are cool, plus Argento's swooping camerawork is always worth a look but when you compare it to Phenomena, there's just something missing. And I don't mean insects. Phenomena's plot wasn't exactly mind-blowing but every single scene was so full of random joys whether it was visually, through the perplexing soundtrack or the script that it didn't matter: it was entertaining and unique.
All in all, Tenebrae has enough in there to make it worth a watch if you're a fan of Argento's other works but chances are you'll be wishing you were watching one of his better films. There are worse whodunits and Argento flicks out there but Tenebrae and its characters really lack personality.