A man travels to Italy with his family to live in the castle they have recently inherited. But he soon begins to suspect that they are not the only occupants.A man travels to Italy with his family to live in the castle they have recently inherited. But he soon begins to suspect that they are not the only occupants.A man travels to Italy with his family to live in the castle they have recently inherited. But he soon begins to suspect that they are not the only occupants.
Horror Icon Jeffrey Combs(also from "Re-Animator") stars in this Gothic tale of a man, John Reilly, who inherits an Italian castle, only to find that there is a secret lurking deep inside of it. Gordon takes this simple plot(slightly based in "The Outsider") and adds depth to Combs character and his family: he killed his 6 years old son in a car accident while driving drunk. This event has marked his family, destroying his relationship with his wife Susan(Barbara Crampton) and his daughter Rebecca(Jessica Dollarhide), who was blinded in the accident.
All this conflicts explode in the castle when a prostitute brought by John appears brutally killed in a savage way, and all the clues point to John; who now not only must prove himself innocent, but also must save his family from the mysterious being who lurks in the castle.
Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton give one of their best performances. Crampton's Susan Reilly is truly believable as a mother who has lost a child and blames his former lover of everything that goes wrong in her life; while Combs shines as the man overwhelmed by guilt who must face his own demons to gain the strength to save his family.
Gordon's direction is remarkable, as he manages to keep a Gothic atmosphere while making the film shocking by including a few extremely graphic gory scenes. Makes a nice contrast that many have attempted but very few manage to achieve.
The make-up is outstanding and very realistic, there was a lot of heart in the production of the horrifying scenes. A true love for the horror genre.
The movie does not disappoint and flows smoothly from the beginning to the end, it never gets boring and the script is really well constructed. While the movie may not be exactly Lovecraft's story, it still has that spirit mixed with that visual style of Gordon that has given us jewels such as the previously mentioned "Re-Animator", and the awesome "Dagon".
While this is not as good as those 2 movies, it still stands as one of the best horror movies of the 90's, keeping that soul that 70's & 80's horror films used to have.
Very recommended for fans of the genre. 8/10
- Nov 24, 2005