Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Phenomena (aka Creepers) (1985)

Fear 1/5
Gore 2/5
Entertainment 2/5
Creepiness 1/5

Lackluster and disappointing film that's more corny than anything else. If you are looking for an introduction to Dario Argento's classic horror films, this is probably not the place to start, though it does feature Jennifer Connolly in a very early role. And it has a knife wielding chimpanzee.

Connolly plays a foreign exchange student living in a school where some unexplained murders are taking place (if you're familiar with Argento you'll quickly recognize this plot). What the other students don't know is that she is able to communicate with insects. This soon becomes apparent to the local wheelchair bound etymologist (played to the hammy hilt by Donald Pleasance - complete with bad Scottish accent). As she and the doctor begin to use her telepathic powers to start figuring out who is killing the students, the killer starts hunting them down. A diabolical game of cat and mouse! Egads!

There are some icky moments here that show off Argento's ability to startle and gross-out (if I can use that phrase as a verb), especially a pool of grody looking goo filled with decaying corpses that Connolly is forced to swim through. But for the most part, the violence and gore is relatively tame for an Argento film - hell, for an Italian horror film in general. And while the bad dubbing, cheezy dialogue and wooden acting often works in Argento's favor (don't ask me how, it just does), it simply fails here. It's just crummy. I like the Iron Maiden song though.

Sorry Beard, I was less than impressed. And kind of let down. I feel like you cheated me. Next time I see you, it's on. Fisticuffs muthafucka!!

(And yes, there really is a chimpanzee that wields a switchblade here. For real. )

- Complaint Department

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