By the early 80s, the Giallo had become a well-established sub-genre in Italian Horror cinema. A BLADE IN THE DARK does not introduce anything new to the standard formula, but it does offer a fun and bloody entry into the film grouping. A musician that is finishing the score for an upcoming Horror film becomes wrapped up in a murderous plot that is unraveling at the Italian villa he has chosen as his temporary studio. Director Lamberto Bava takes obvious cues from the works of his father and family friend Dario Argento, with the occupation of the lead, musical homages, and the slow revelation of clues echoing DEEP RED. The film successfully drives the audience in several directions, keeping them guess as to who the killer might be up until the finale. What is most notable, though, are the extremely brutal deaths. It is not enough for the killer to just stab the victims; one of the girls has her hand pinned to the sink with a knife as the killer repeatedly slams her face against the porcelain, all while suffocating her with a plastic bag wrapped around her head. Though the story is engaging, it is really these gory moments that make the film. Bava has a keen eye behind the camera, but there are several points where the pacing slows dramatically, which is one of the few distractions that drops the film down a notch. There are certainly better Gialli out there, but I have always really enjoyed BLADE, and recommend it to any gorehounds or Italian Horror buffs!
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