The plot and pace of this film really make me happy.
A medium at a live psychic reading in front of an audience latches onto one of the attendee's and finds a deep secret they hold. We see through the killer's eyes in a classic POV shot as they get up and walk away from the scene. Needless to say, blurting out this knowledge in front of the killer doesn't go well for the medium. She's dispatched violently as our hero Marcus Daly (David Hemmings) watches from below. He races to the scene to try and help his poor neighbor, but to no avail. But, something troubles him besides the death of his neighbor. There's some piece of the puzzle he isn't seeing. He teams up with reporter Gianna Brezzi played by the ever awesome Daria Nicolodi to track down the murderer and solve the mystery. Simple and understated, but it turns into a real thrill fest when Brezzi publishes a photo of Daly in her paper....and states that he can identify the killer.
Love the music for this as well. A great driving swell with the tinkling higher notes.
And...the lullaby..... :::shiver::::
What I love about this film is that it actually has substance - not just a series of deaths and naked women flopping about waiting to be killed. There's a strong sense of story and character development in Deep Red and a fantastic sense of play as the characters interact and investigate. The comedic elements are wonderful in the film as well. Really top notch. There were points where I was laughing out loud, but it was driven by the writing and not some bit of bad dialogue or silly acting. There's a scene where the characters and relationship between Daly and Brezzi are demonstrated expertly with a fantastic comic twist that helps vary the waves of emotion in the film. You're interested, tense, terrified, then you get a moment of comedy to cleanse the palate before rolling into the next tense moment.
But, the film still has those classic Dario moments of nasty, gore filled deaths - don't you worry about THAT. You'll still get your bloodier moments in this film as well as some truly freaky visual elements that are unnerving to say the least.
The shot composition is A-class Dario Argento as well. Not only do we get the fantastic Argento lighting, but we get some really lovely shots and set pieces that help to add to the artistic quality - again, taking the film from ditsy blood filled titillation to top tier horror film. My personal favorite setup is right as Daly is returning to his apartment towards the beginning just before the death of the poor psychic medium Helga Ulmann - played by the beautiful Macha Méril. We get these fantastic long shots of the area that give a wondrous sense of space. We also get a smart nod to the 1942 Edward Hopper painting Nighthawks. The painting is a personal favorite of mine that I was lucky enough to see in person on a business trip to Chicago a few years ago. It's always been a favorite of mine, so when I saw it represented in the film, I believe I might have let out an audible squeal of happiness. ::grin::: This level of detail is what separates Deep Red from it's lesser counterparts.
Lastly, the film makes sense. The actions of characters and plot really hit a not of reality that sells the film for me 100%. People do somewhat normal and realistic actions.
I'm going to say it....
DEEP RED is my favorite Dario Argento movie.
So good. Check it out!