Directed by Dario Argento [Other horror films: L’uccello dalle piume di cristallo (1970), Il gatto a nove code (1971), 4 mosche di velluto grigio (1971), Profondo rosso (1975), Suspiria (1977), Tenebre (1982), Phenomena (1985), Opera (1987), Due occhi diabolici (1990, segment ‘The Black Cat’), Trauma (1993), La sindrome di Stendhal (1996), Il fantasma dell’opera (1998), Non ho sonno (2001), Il cartaio (2003), Ti piace Hitchcock? (2005), La terza madre (2007), Giallo (2009), Dracula 3D (2012), Occhiali neri (2022)]
While I’ve seen Suspiria a few times before, perhaps as many as three times, I’ve not seen Inferno up until the point of this writing. It’s a difficult movie to really get a feel for, but I’ll say that, while it wasn’t as striking and, I suspect, as memorable as Suspiria, there’s still stuff in here to enjoy.
It’s just possible that the movie lacks a certain cohesion. That’s not to say that Suspiria didn’t, but Inferno takes it to a whole new level. There’s a basic plot here, but the movie takes a rather meandering and sometimes disjointed approach to it, especially with Leigh McCloskey’s character not having a clue as to what was going on until the ending, and I’m guessing he didn’t really know then.
Inferno has a rather dream-like quality to it. There are some scenes that just seem off, or riddled with awkward dialogue, or character actions that don’t make a lot of sense. Most of the kills are great, but we never really find out who exactly is the one doing most of them, and generally, portions of the movie strike me as somewhat nonsensical.
None of this means the movie isn’t enjoyable. I will say that it probably went on a bit longer than it needed to, and the conclusion was, well, not amazing (and just brought forth a few more questions that were never even attempted to be answered), but it’s still occasionally fun. The special effects are decent, and the lighting is, of course, rather seductively ambient (though I will say that Suspiria’s lighting was quite a bit better). I think, in terms of enjoyment of the ludicrous nature of the film, the whole eclipse scene was definitely a trip.
Generally, I don’t know if most of the performances are all that memorable. McCloskey sort of had appeal as the lead, given that he had no idea whatsoever that anything supernatural was even going on until the end. He was basically clueless throughout the whole film (which lead to a somewhat amusing line near the end), but I don’t know if that makes him necessarily memorable. That said, the same could be said for both Irene Miracle and Eleonora Giorgi. Daria Nicolodi seemed somewhat pointless, but Alido Valli was rather fun to see again (she was also in Suspiria).
It’s sort of hard to pinpoint what exactly makes this film a little less stellar than his former film in the series. Inferno does meander a bit, and at times feels a bit aimless. The conclusion, especially that skeleton costume, seemed a iffy. The soundtrack was just a bit eclectic. It’s still a decent film, and I do think it’s probably above average, but Suspiria is, in my opinion, better.