"Four Flies On Grey Velvet" is surely an odd, truly bizarre film, even by Dario Argento standards. In my opinion however, it most definitely is not a bad film, much less one of Argento's worst. Much of what is said about the film, by critics and fans alike, seems (to me) to wrongly condemn it. I definitely can understand why one might be frustrated by this film, but I don't believe that's a reason to reject it completely. Some may feel the acting and/or story isn't all that good. I would respectfully disagree. I feel the acting is strange and aloof, but I believe that it works in favor of the film; and the story is confusing, but that is typical for an Argento film, and as a viewer, I appreciate not being handed all of the answers on a platter. Perhaps what repels many viewers is consistently being displaced espacially within the film context; that is to say one (the viewer and/or the characters) doesn't necessarily always know where one is within the "reality" of the film or how one got there. Here, in what is perhaps Argento's most abstract film to date, the director makes some very bold, disarming choices with editing; choices I believe serve a greater purpose and add chillingly to the effectiveness of the film. For instance, the sequence in which the protagonist (Michael Brandon) is driving to the office of a private investigator. Shots of him driving in his car to the office are quickly intercut with gliding POV shots approaching the office building, going up the stairs, nearing the office door. The effect is that of feeling as if he is literally driving up the stairs and down the hallway to the office door, creating a tense and strangely humorous sequence of events. This editing technique, prevalent throughout the film, is surely a forceful presence and I suppose could turn off some viewers. Regardless of the editing, the atmosphere and visual punch of the film is pure Argento, albeit an Argento who was still developing his technique and discovering his style. There are many beautiful and stunning visuals to be appreciated, including the violent, shocking ending sequence and a very creepy chase scene in an otherworldly city park. My favorite visual flourish in this film is the reoccuring nightmare had by the protagonist, in which a Middle Eastern execution is taking place in a bleached out desert dreamscape; thoroughly chilling. A frantic, highly enjoyable score from the master Ennio Morricone adds greatly to the proceedings as well. I really like this film, despite whatever flaws it may have, and have but one question for anyone who thinks "Four Flies On Grey Velvet" is (one of) Argento's worst... "Have you seen "The Five Days Of Milan" or his "Phantom of The Opera"?
Definitely not for everyone's tastes, but a certain must for any Argento fan, Euro-horror fan, or anyone who just really wants to be daring and see something totally different.