Here’s a well-known classic horror film that is highly touted (#22 Bravo Scariest Moments) and at the same time incredibly overrated. I watched this yarn starring one of my favorite horror go-to guys, Donald Sutherland, with no preconceptions. The only thing I knew was I should prepare myself for seeing a large slice of the Donald in the nude. And that was all. So one preconception.
After Donald and his wife (Julie Christie) lose a child in a drowning accident they move to Venice where Donald gets a job restoring a church. A strange blind lady tells them she can see their dead child who wants to communicate with the two grieving parents. It’s dreadfully slow, edited (on purpose) in a non-linear manner, and features characters that are mostly boring and undeveloped. And for the record, I typically love slow-burning horror films (The Changeling, Rosemary’s Baby, The House of the Devil), but this one came up flat.
As for the sex scene, it was pretty damn good. I feel almost certain that they couldn’t get away with it even by today’s loose standards. It’s graphic, intense, and features a whole lot of Donald butt. Which I guess is good or bad depending on your desire to see that sorta thing. On the flip side, naked Julie Christie was a bit of alright in my book. The editing for this scene was spot on and probably one of the biggest reasons why it remains such a (in)famous moment. The director, Roeg, cuts scenes of the two banging like Mormon’s on their wedding night with shots of the couple casually dressing post-sex. It’s surprisingly effective and would no doubt be an “exciting” scene to watch with a loved one or a hooker. It’s up there with the sex in Secretary on the hot scale (Read: It’s a good way to turn the ladies on).
As for the rest of the editing, which is commonly lauded as genius or brilliant, I pretty much hated it across the board. It was uneven and confusing without good reason. Random cutaways and half a second blips made me feel like I was watching an episode of Family Guy at times, obviously not a good sign for a suspense film.
The story doesn’t simply hold up long enough to be scary. As for the end, well the end made me giggle a bit. It may be the least scary part of the film. Are audiences supposed to buy that crap? Save your time and watch the original Wicker Man, it was released in conjunction with Don’t Look Now and is the far superior of the two films. Or keep it in the genre and just watch almost any other giallo ever made.
Snore Factor: ZZZZ (It’s like sleep medicine)