A stylish but bizarre and pretentious giallo, which seems to take more from Bertolucci's "Spider's Strategem" and "Conformist" in its spirit and aesthetic ambition than from films in the genre; indeed, its interesting element is the frequent oblique references to Italy's fascist past and its repercussions for modern European societies.
Giallo or not giallo? In my humble opinion, no. Shot in the early 70's, yes! Shot by an Italian director, yes! Actors who played in famous giallos! A blonde woman not ashamed of her body, yes! Characters savagely knifed, yes! A giallo, No!.
Superior giallo psycho-drama borrows heavily from 'Rosemary's Baby' and 'Repulsion', but is a sharp, stylish entry to the genre, bolstered by a strong central performance by Mimsy Farmer and a genuine shocker of an ending. A must for giallo fans.
OK chiller that finds a woman haunted by repressed memories that end in eventual bloodshed. Story has elements of possible black magic or cult activity but plays with the viewer that it may just be fevered fantasies of our protagonist. Drags a bit but sports good production values.
"It's odd though. Twenty-four rose and two lilies. Funny, isn't it?" Spiral staircases, mirrors, the play of light, costumes, blood. "What is it? Everything's dark now. The boat is leaving. Water. Nothing but water." Sylvia wonders what is real. "I want to stop this game. You can't stop now. It's not a game. Close your eyes." A bit of a story arc. "'Have you solved the riddle? said the Mad Hatter turning to Alice."
It certainly hits all the right notes: strange camera angles, nightmare lighting, a fragile heroine who's grip on reality is already tenuous at best, a creepy little girl, a simple yet fairly incomprehensible plot....unfortunately it all never quite gels. There are better examples of giallo out there...any of Argento's pre-Suspiria films, "The House with Laughing Windows", various works by Bava. Still, not terrible.