3 September 2012 | Red-Barracuda
One of the last good Italian horror films
A woman is chosen to bear the son of Satan by a cult headed by a mysterious old traveller.
I find it pretty unfortunate to say the least that Michele Soavi last made a horror film way back in 1994. Unlike most of his Italian peers he seems to have bowed out on a high. With this film along with Stagefright, The Church and Cemetery Man, Soavi has a pretty impressive body of work. He was the premier Italian horror director from the period 1987-94. I can't say definitively why he never returned to the genre but needless to say he is a great loss.
Similar to his earlier movie The Church, The Sect was also produced and co-written by Dario Argento. Soavi was something of a protégé of the great man. This one shows the influence pretty clearly once again. It has stylish direction and inventive cinematography. It also benefits from a good score from Pino Donaggio. So its overall look and feel is pretty good, while it has some well-conceived locations such as the tree and the well. Soavi really comes into his element with the dream sequence and cult ceremony scenes. The dream sequence in particular is a bravura display of cinematic technique. It's surreal, weird and very memorable. It's the highlight of the movie for sure.
It has a decent enough cast that includes Herbert Lom as the mysterious old traveller, cult favourite Giovanni Lombardo Radice as the man who is chased in the underground with the human heart, while Jamie Lee-Curtis's sister Kelly leads the picture in the role of the teacher. It's by no means a faultless film; in fact it's probably the least good of Soavi's quartet of movies. It's probably a bit over long while its ending did seem very rushed and a bit unsatisfying. Nevertheless, it remains one of the very last good Italian horror films and like all Soavi films, is well worth catching.