Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Movie Review: "Inferno" (1980)

Director: Dario Argento
Year: 1980
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 47 minutes

A woman living in New York reads an old book about the Three Mothers, who are evil witches that live in three different cities: one in Greighberg, one in Rome, and one in New York City, where the evilest Mother resides. The Mothers don't like this information getting out and are ready to kill anyone who knows it.

Inferno 1980 Dario Argento Irene Miracle movie still
"I am a nervous wreck." (Image Source)
Writer/director Dario Argento is a household name in the horror genre and is most known for his classic film "Suspiria." Can he pull off the same success with his follow-up "Inferno"? In this film, a woman named Rose (Irene Miracle) gets an old book from an antique shop called "The Three Mothers." This book contains information on three sisters who are witches that each live in different cities around the world so they can hold domain over the whole planet. One of them is Mater Suspiriorum (the Mother of Sighs) in Freiberg, Germany, who was the antagonist of the film "Suspiria." The next is Mater Tenebraum (the Mother of Darkness), who resides in Rome, Italy. Last but not least is Mater Lachrymarum (the Mother of Tears), the cruelest of the Three Mothers, who is not only living in New York but is said to reside in the same building as Rose. Rose tries to contact her brother Mark (Leigh McCloskey), who is a music student in Rome, about the issue. The Mothers don't want their secret getting spilled to the world and are ready to kill anyone who finds it out, putting Rose and everyone she's talked to about it in danger.
Inferno 1980 Dario Argento Irene Miracle movie still
"There are mysterious parts in that book, but the only true mystery is that our very lives are governed by dead people." (Image Source)
Much like its predecessor "Suspiria," "Inferno" is a supernatural horror that has many slasher elements. The antagonists are witches, but many of the kills involve people getting stabbed or hacked up with dull blades that can penetrate the skin, but not cut through the bone. Director Dario Argento uses this to his gruesome advantage, creating scenes of assailants taking multiple whacks at the necks of victims that are always shown in graphic, bloody, badass detail. Though uncredited for his efforts, the visual effects were apparently done by Mario Bava, who is known for extremely gory visuals in his own movies. Beyond the blood and gore, "Inferno" sets a properly creepy mood early on, and keeps that great atmosphere throughout its runtime with moments of thrilling tension along the way. The set design and decorations are vintage Argento. They look amazing and fit perfectly into a beautiful color palette, which is present in much of his work. The soundtrack by Keith Emerson is stellar and offers an intense electronic sound to keep the intensity at a heightened state. All this being said, the story feels pretty thin and doesn't fully develop the characters as much as we would have liked. The narrative doesn't seem all that connected and sometimes feels like a mashup of random scenes rather than a cohesive sequence of events. It is also a bit slowly paced despite being pretty short in length.
Inferno 1980 Dario Argento Irene Miracle movie still
"I too have begun to feel very nervous and uneasy lately." (Image Source)
Despite a shaky story and some pacing issues, we believe there is enough in "Inferno" to make it worth watching, especially for people predisposed to like Argento's films.

My Rating: 6.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 6.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.7/10
RT Rating: 64%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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