He’s back. Like a seasonal biscuit or Joe Hart, the man himself is back. Dario Argento, behind the camera and where he belongs. Acceptable nepo baby Asia Argento storms to the front of the camera and supports the efforts of the unsung and rightly starring Ilenia Pastorelli. Taking a decade to recover from Dracula 3D and now storming through with a blind and serial killer-clad movie, it would appear the man himself is back in top form. For those who only know Argento from Suspiria, of which there is no problem, grasp the bulky nettle and learn from its sting, there is little comparison to make between the heyday and the here and now. Rumbling through the empty streets, even in a massive car there is a sense of unease.
Argento challenges himself here. As best he can he makes Giallo work for the modern era. Cut away those filmmaking trickeries, the slick blood and gory kills. He brings about the tension and the tension is enough. All part of the fold but striking in its placement here. Long shots and interesting colour palettes bring about a striking resemblance to the broader awe of the 1970s genre staple but are turned away by the subsequent vision of people staring up at the sun. Richard Hawley has a track telling people to do exactly the opposite. Who are artists to decide who does and does not stare at the sun? Dark Glasses sustains itself on the once-in-a-blue moon happening, the eclipse sees a shift in mood and tone, and almost immediately he submerges the already sinister and uncouth surroundings in ominous intent.
Inevitably personal and impressive in spots, Argento is a horror legend who has transitioned his craft to a digital, harder-to-impress style. His thumping electro soundtrack coupled with the bloody disgusting efforts found throughout are given some gory placements and inevitabilities. He focuses on the aftershock and bloody terrors more than he does the act of the kill. Giallo takes another step toward the grim and grisly, but the crime scene fixations and the focus on investigation, rather than fright, is an interesting direction to take. Certainly a unique one, which works rather nicely for Argento as he sets out on the path to revisiting an old stomping ground which serves him well. He is not set on retreading, though, and offers chilling strings of a Halloween variety and plentiful amounts of unique scenarios and scares. More than most modern horror directors, anyway.
Sometimes, it is the efforts of the legends that inspire the next generation who do it best. Showing how it should and could be done at a time when assemblies of sticks in woods or Swedish Renaissance fairs are troubling the next generation of horror directors. Twenty years in the making and discovered by Asia as she pieced together an autobiography, the Argento duo are more than capable of shaking the cobwebs off of Dark Glasses and making a thrilling visit to the Giallo nursing home. Fresh faces boom through the streets and convince of tension, of mindless thrills and violent kills as only the best features of the era can. Neither a throwback nor a reinvention, just a happy medium that sees a founding father of an influential genre take himself back to the glory days.