Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971)


Synopsis taken from IMDb
Roberto, a drummer in a rock band, keeps receiving weird phone calls and being followed by a mysterious man. One night he manages to catch up with his persecuter and tries to get him to talk but in the ensuing struggle he accidentally stabs him. He runs away, but he understands his troubles have just begun when the following day he receives an envelope with photos of him killing the man. Someone is killing all his friends and trying to frame him for the murders... 

I had heard of this movie and almost bought it at Best Buy about a year ago but never did. I believe I ended up buying a CD instead. But here we are a year later and it arrives via snail mail from Netflix. I was interested to see this film because after all it is a Dario Argento film. If you don't know who Dario Argento is then look him up and start watching his movies. ESPECIALLY Suspiria, I consider Suspiria t be Argento's masterpiece.

So I sat down in the comfort of my parents living room and we all watched Four Flies on Grey Velvet in the dark and in the company of my favorite crowd to be around (my family and girlfriend). And while I can't say that I walked away disappointed, but like other Argento films this has a few things about it that eat at me. He's a good director with a good style but sometimes the acting in his films is unbearable. I heard him say that he doesn't give his actors and actresses direction before a shoot, he just puts them in the scene and lets them act how they want to react to the situation. That's a downfall, because some actors need direction, otherwise you get like what you have here in Four Flies on Grey Velvet, where it looks like bad acting. I think he should let them interpret it their way and do a take with his direction, I think he'd get better results.

I liked the plot alot, thought it was good and promising. I also thought some of the deaths were pretty awesome. Especially the end death right before the credits, brutal.

The lead character gets so paranoid due to the stalking that he beats up a cop in a hood because he thinks he's the stalker. This got a few laughs out of me but honestly you can't blame the guy, I probably would have done the same. You can only take some much...

The stalker/killer in this movie wears a creepy mask, especially in dark scenes where you can see the mask and it's expression, and even though it's not a scary mask it sure as hell looks creepy. Argento did a good job with picking the mask. Very common and non threatening, and that's what works about it and actually makes it creepy.

However, I saw the twist (killer) coming a mile away. I don't know if this is due to me having good intuition or if it was just poorly executed, but I knew from about 20 mins in who the stalker/killer is and I was right. I wasn't the only one either, my sister guessed it as well.

The special effects in this film were good for their time, like all Argento films, even if the kill looks fake it's just shot in a way that makes you feel it in your gut.

I wouldn't say I loved the film but it was enjoyable and I can see where it gets it's classic reputation from. Even though I predicted the ending I still found it entertaining. I've seen better though. And I don't understand the PG rating. They need to change that.


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