Review by Michael Jacobson
Christopher Rydell, Asia Argento, Laura Johnson, James Russo, Brad Dourif,
Frederic Forrest, Piper Laurie
Director: Dario Argento
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Studio: Anchor Bay
Features: See Review
Length: 106 Minutes
Release Date: August 23, 2005
Italian horror maestro Dario Argento decides to tackle a pair of psychological
diseases, you can bet heads will roll.
because of the director's fascination with anorexia, so he gave the disorder to
one of his lead characters. The
other is a recovering drug addict. But
both of them are more mentally balanced than the black clad stalker who's been
going around cutting people's heads off with a bizarre Black and Decker tool.
also marked the first time he directed his daughter, the international beauty
Asia Argento (then only 16 years old). Her
co-star, Christopher Rydell, could understand the feeling...his dad is director
Mark Rydell, who gave Chris his first screen appearance in On Golden Pond.
we open, David (Rydell) spots the seemingly-suicidal Aura (Argento) too close to
the dangerous edge of a bridge. He
tries to help her, but she seems more than a little distraught, and frequently
runs to the bathroom to regurgitate her last meal (I thought that was bulimia,
not anorexia? What do I know...).
has escaped from a clinic and returned home to her medium mother, Adriana
(Laurie). After a bizarre rainy
night sťance, both Aura's mother and father end up dead and headless.
out and panicked, Aura turns to David for help, and the two try to get to the
bottom of the mystery before the killer decides to recap a decap on one of them.
the juicy premise, Trauma isn't nearly as gory as some of Argento's other
works. The fact that this DVD
represents the first time the uncut version has been available in the States is
more of a testament to how needlessly squeamish the distributors were in 1992.
It doesn't boast as much of Argento's clever camerawork either, although
one unsuspecting victim loses his head via an elevator, leading to a rather
a mystery, though, it's fairly satisfying.
Argento makes the mistake of trying too hard to make one particular
character look like the killer, so you can pretty much bet way in advance that
it won't turn out to be him. The
final resolution was sufficiently surprising.
the end, the film doesn't really have a lot to say about the tragic condition of
anorexia, and the drug addiction of the other character seems more like an
unnecessary afterthought than a genuine plot device. Rydell is a fairly solid actor, and Asia Argento is a beauty,
though her performance seemed to be burdened by the fact that A) she had to
speak English, and B) don a Romanian accent on top of it.
is not as
unnerving as Suspiria or as grim as Opera, but it's a decent slice
of suspense, mystery and horror from the man who has kept Italy in the horror
genre for the last couple of decades.
TRIVIA: This film marked a return
to horror for actress Piper Laurie, who had earned an Oscar nomination more than
a decade earlier for her work in Carrie.
Bay delivers the goods once again with an impressive anamorphic transfer (scope
ratio, despite the typo on the box). The
colors are vivid and the detail level is good throughout.
A couple of darker scenes lose a bit of definition and show a bit of film
texture, but nothing terribly distracting.
bold 5.1 remix from Anchor Bay...these guys aren't afraid to make a soundtrack
as good as it can be. Plenty of
atmospheric sound from the rains to the streets, to the quiet moments when you
know something's going to happen. It
all plays with clear dialogue, good dynamic range, and occasional but expressive
use of the subwoofer.
featurettes are included..."Life Death and Trauma" features new
interview footage with Dario Argento, while "On the Set With Tom Savini"
is a collection of then-current footage showing the great make-up artist at
work, as well as revealing how some of the special effects were done.
There is a full length commentary by Argento author Alan Jones, who was
there on the set of the movie and shares his memories of the director and stars.
Rounding out is about 4 minutes of deleted scenes, a trailer, a poster
and stills gallery, and a bio for Argento.