MOVIE REVIEWS

Phenomena

7/10 NR 01 hr 50 min

January 31, 1985

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Phenomena, doo-doo doo-doo-doo.

Arriving at a Swiss Academy for girls, Jennifer Corvino (Jennifer Connelly) gets embroiled in the workings of a serial killer. Her friends the insects and Professor John McGregor (Donald Pleasence) are on hand to help if possible.

Directed and co-written by horror legend Dario Argento, Phenomena is a mixed bag. Ignoring the butchered American version, which was titled Creepers, the full uncut version is still messy. Argento the director is doing good work here, which explains why the film has a sturdy reputation. His eye for striking imagery and horror scene staging is evident here for sure, but Argento the writer (along with Franco Ferrini) fails to string a decent enough narrative together. Pace is all over the place, the dialogue often boorish, while wasting Donald Pleasence is a crime against horror film making. Still, there¬タルs enough good Argento at work here to keep Phenomena above average, even if it¬タルs more for the eyes than the brain. 6/10

Both a great chance to see two acting icons (one, Donald Pleasence, at his prime, and the other, Jennifer Connelly, just starting out on her filmic journey) and one of the films on director Argento's great run of horror classics, this is worth purchasing the finest print and will award the horror aficionado many great times in rewatches. Cinephiles often called Argento 'the Italian Alfred Hitchcock', and this would be a great Exhibit A for their evidence. Essential for connoisseurs of the arcane.

Phenomena, doo-doo doo-doo-doo.

Arriving at a Swiss Academy for girls, Jennifer Corvino (Jennifer Connelly) gets embroiled in the workings of a serial killer. Her friends the insects and Professor John McGregor (Donald Pleasence) are on hand to help if possible.

Directed and co-written by horror legend Dario Argento, Phenomena is a mixed bag. Ignoring the butchered American version, which was titled Creepers, the full uncut version is still messy. Argento the director is doing good work here, which explains why the film has a sturdy reputation. His eye for striking imagery and horror scene staging is evident here for sure, but Argento the writer (along with Franco Ferrini) fails to string a decent enough narrative together. Pace is all over the place, the dialogue often boorish, while wasting Donald Pleasence is a crime against horror film making. Still, there¬タルs enough good Argento at work here to keep Phenomena above average, even if it¬タルs more for the eyes than the brain. 6/10

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