7 April 2008 | Witchfinder-General-666
Argento's Return To Old Greatness
Dario Argento is one of my personal favorite directors, and many of my fellow Horror buffs will agree that the man is one of the all-time Horror greats. Films like "Suspiria" (1977), "Profondo Rosso" (1975) and Phenomena (1985) range among my all-time favorites, and Argento's repertoire includes several other masterpieces of Italian Horror/Giallo, such as "The Bird With The Crystal Plumage" (1970), "Opera"(1987) or "Tenebre"(1982). After several inferior films that he made in the 1990s, such as the decent "Trauma" of 1993 and "Two Evil Eyes" (which he made with fellow Horror-deity George A. Romero in 1990) and the disappointing "Phantom of the Opera", the master returned to his old style - and old greatness - with this "Non Ho Sonno" aka "Sleepless", a tantalizing and ultra-violent Giallo, in 2001. The good-old Giallo premise is still working greatly, and the fact that Argento borrows many elements from his older films does in no way downsize the greatness of "Sleepless". On the contrary, this is the absolute proof for us Italian Horror buffs that great Gialli can still be made in the 21st century.
In 1983, young Giacomo has to witness the brutal murder of his mother, who is one of the many victims of a Turin murder series. 17 years later, Turin is struck by a murder-series again, and the horrid crimes seem to resemble those from 1983. Even though he has spent the last 17 years trying to forget, Giacomo (Stefano Dionisi), who has since moved to Rome, decides to come back to Turin. Since the police make little progress, Giacomo and the retired homicide detective Ulisse Moretti (Max Von Sydow), who was working on the cases in 1983, begin to investigate themselves...
"Sleepless" brings the old-fashioned Giallo-greatness that we're used to from Argento. A creepy atmosphere, stunning suspense, ultra-bloody murders, an excellent cinematography and especially another ingenious score by Progressive Rock band Goblin - this film delivers all the great elements that we love Argento for. Argento has once stated that this is the most brutal of all his films which is not exactly true. The violence and gore are extreme, no doubt, but films like "Tenebre", "Phenomena" or "Opera" are at least equally violent, if not more. Dario Argento is not exactly known for his tameness when it comes to violence, and this is yet another (immensely stylishly) ultra-brutal Argento experience. As I stated above, Argento uses some elements he has used in his older films - but he does so in an great manner. Elements like a creepy nursery-rhyme are downright ingenious and give this the tantalizing and superb atmosphere that is typical for Argento. An absolute must-see for Horror fans, especially my fellow Argento-enthusiasts can not allow themselves to miss this! Great!