Somewhat atypical Bergman with the dream-state horror motifs and devices working well (to a point) underscoring the fear & paranoia. The true 'horror' isn't so much the surface detail but within the tumultuous internalised emotions erupting forth when self, desire, guilt or need for solitude is compromised. Where the motifs grate somewhat is in the sheer stew of them, from gothic to surrealism and points in between.
I added an extra star for Liv's performance. She had the sweetness and caring of a much younger woman. The movie seemed like a meditation on a horror film rather than an actual horror film. You get that distance from the way it kept pulling away from the emotion and back into Max's confused mind.
Film d'une désespérance totale, d'une noirceur inouie où même l'art (ici la peinture) n'a plus de fonction d'exutoire, de décantation du subconscient. L'artiste meurt d'un excès de solitude et d'incommunicabilité. A voir absolument (et qu'on ne parle pas de cinéma élitiste, comme certains enragés du bis) www.cinefiches.com
3.5-4. At times it seems to me like Ingmar Bergman has a frustratingly conservative view about what 'good' there is in living. So, doing away with it, letting his personal darkness run rampant, and placing it in a horror context (rather than a dramatic one), was undoubtedly one of the better ways for Bergman to mine himself for an honest film.