by Corrinna Waycott
Directed by the infamous Dario Argento and starring Adrien Brody as Inspector Avolfi, Giallo is a quirky 2009 horror flick following the crimes of serial killer Giallo. Luring foreigners into his fake cab, Giallo drugs, violently assaults and mutilates before finally killing these beautiful women in the hopes of making them as ugly as he is. When Linda’s supermodel sister Celine is the latest kidnap victim, Inspector Avolfi is brought in to assist with the case. Can they figure it out before Celine because Giallo’s latest fatality?
This film, I have to say it, did not get me as excited as one should be when watching a horror, except for one time. There was a point in this film where I honestly thought I had accidentally changed the channel. The scene had the same actors and everything, but had a very, very, different tone.
The audience sees Inspector Avolfi leaning against a pillar reading over the notes for the case; a cigarette in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. Linda enters the underground office and the camera pans; photos from the crime scenes across the far wall, a therapists leather couch in the centre, a small bed in the corner, a decanter full of mystery brown liquid and remnants of past fast-food dinners lay sprawled across every surface.
“How can you stand this?”, Linda whispers as she batters her eyes, shooting the inspector a look over her shoulder.
He glances up at her and smiles, “It’s my job” he says casually as he takes a slow drag on the cigarette.
Linda walks over to the couch and casually curls up in the corner; resting her head on her shoulder she looks up and asks, “Why are you down her in the basement?”
Inspector Avolfi blows out a long puff of smoke and replies; “it’s cooler”.
Linda picks up on his cues, arches her back, puffs out her chests and asks; “Do you have a…partner?”
Eying off Linda on the couch, the inspector downs the remaining dregs of coffee left in his cup, and says with a chuckle, “It’s better for everyone if I work by myself…my methods aren’t exactly by the book”.
At any moment I was expected the “bam-chucka-wa-wa” music to start playing, and was genuinely surprised that the audience was meant to take this as a serious interaction between the two characters and not a set up to some tension relieving couch snuggling. For a woman who is uncertain as to whether her sister is alive or dead, she sure comes across as blonde seductress rather than grieving family member. Maybe I was sexually frustrated at the time and read into the scene too much, but I’m willing to bet money that with if the lead actress didn’t happen to share an unfortunate physical similarity to Edina from Absolutely Fabulous, this whole detective/client scenario could have gone down a happier and more naked path.
Ah, dear reader, my sordid mind has driven this review off track. Other highlights or things of mention from the film? The answer happens to be no, which is a shame. While a $14 million dollar budget may not be the most lavish, the film could easily be mistaken for a small budget independent. There are a few torture porn scenes here and there, but nothing which immediately screams out “BUDGET DRAINING SPECIAL EFFECT”.
Dario Argento is legendary for his work in the horror film genre, and it is truly distressing to see his most recent piece of work (ironically named after the sub-genre he created, giallo films), come out as a B-grade horror film at best. The characters (when they aren’t trying to undress each other with their eyes) are uninteresting and the plot does not engage the audience enough to make them care. Like watching young and pretty Elvis progress before your eyes to fat and disturbed Elvis, this film is not recommended for fans of the genre nor new-comers alike.