The Stendhal Syndrome (1996)

Not Rated   |    |  Horror, Mystery, Thriller


The Stendhal Syndrome (1996) Poster

A young policewoman slowly goes insane while tracking down an elusive serial rapist/killer through Italy when she herself becomes a victim of the brutal man's obsession.


6.1/10
7,684


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  • The Stendhal Syndrome (1996)
  • Dario Argento in The Stendhal Syndrome (1996)
  • Asia Argento and Dario Argento in The Stendhal Syndrome (1996)
  • Asia Argento in The Stendhal Syndrome (1996)
  • Asia Argento in The Stendhal Syndrome (1996)
  • The Stendhal Syndrome (1996)

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17 August 2007 | Disarmed-Doll-Parts
7
| Argento's vicious return to form, one of his most atmospheric and unsettling from start to finish,
Argento has been cursed with a number of duds in recent years. 'Two Evil Eyes', 'The Phantom of the Opera', 'Sleepless', 'The Card Player' and one of the worst MASTERS OF HORROR episodes yet 'Jenifer'. However, the beautiful, poignant 'The Stendhal Syndrome' is an extremely well crafted rose between a number of poisonous thorns. It sees a return to the atmospheric dream-like charm of his earlier films like 'Phenomena' and 'Suspiria', but adopting his more recent sadism (it's always there, just a different style in his newer films) that gave slight high points in his otherwise dull modern films. After two poorly reviewed films ('Trauma' and 'Two Evil Eyes') Argento has finally done it right.

The film stars his daughter, Asia (whose interesting relationship with Dario adds to the intriguing and off-beat persona he puts out), as Anna, a beautiful police detective in Rome. When she is targeted by the serial killer she is hunting, she is raped and beaten and so leads Argento's best character study and one of the most intense of his films to date. Rather than following the madman as he offs prostitutes and impressionable young women through Italy (the film lightly touches on it, but the more left to the imagination the better), the film follows Anna as she loses grip on reality and develops a strange disease in which she can ever paintings in her mind and they help solve the case, called the Stendhal Syndrome. As the film goes on the attacks on Anna become more and more vicious, and the final climatic ending is one of Argento's best.

Asia delivers a interesting performance, to say it is good is to stretch the truth, but it is suited to the role and you can tell she has a lot of acting talent. All the other performances are rather flat, but as with all of Agento's films the performances aren't what really matter. The cinematography is bland, but as with Asia's performance suits the film better than if it were Technicolor. The tension and music is amazing, the film devotes itself to really unsettling you, rather than just entertaining you like other recent Argento's. 'The Stendhal Syndrome' is probably the most violent and disturbing I've seen the man go, the rape and murder scenes are gratuitously sadistic and the scenes where Anna is raped are bordering on exploitation.

Overall 'The Stendhal Syndrome' is a fantastic return to form fr Argento, and I hope 'The Third Mother' is anywhere near as well-crafted as this.

7/10

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