Ambitious Italian thriller
When Matt wakes up in a mental health hospital after a car accident, he’s suffering from amnesia. Trying to learn more about his life, he accidentally stumbles upon Dr. Leeman’s hidden files of an unsolved serial killer case. From that moment onward, Matt starts having strange visions of the victims.
The era of illustriousness for the Italian Giallo movies is long over and gone – more than twenty years already, in fact – but ambitious Italian filmmakers occasionally still breeze in to deliver new movies with plenty of echoes to this wondrous subgenre of European horror/thriller cinema. Some fine recent examples of this include , and . Luigi Cecinelli‘s Visions arguably also ranks high amongst these chosen few, although the parallelism between this film and the authentic Gialli of the early 70′s is much more subtle and indistinct. Giallo-obsessed freaks, like myself, might spot some likenesses, but to the majority of normal film-loving audiences Visions will probably just comes across as a convoluted but solid, suspenseful and very engaging psychological thriller. Andrea Dal Monte‘s script is perhaps slightly over-ambitious and pseudo-intellectual for its own good, resulting into a confusing and improbable finale, but some of the basic plot-ingredients and ideas are deeply impressive. And even though director Cecinelli and writer Dal Monte are relatively inexperienced, Visions is also a skilfully stylish, coherently structured and adequately shot accomplishment.
The opening ten minutes are unquestionably the best and most memorable ones, as they cover the latest onslaught of the smart and seemingly unstoppable serial killer known as “The Spider”. In an attempt to rescue several of his captured victims at once, the entire police squad as well as the hostages die an excruciatingly painful death. The traumatized FBI-profiler Dr. Leeman resigns and returns to his previous job; psychiatrist in a private clinic. A certain time later one of his patients, Matt – an amnesia patient recovering from a car accident – accidentally stumbles upon Dr. Leeman’s notes and records on The Spider’s case and begins to suffer from nightmarish visions that are accurately illustrating the infamous serial killer’s deeds. Suspecting some kind of psychic or perhaps even physical link with The Spider, Matt digs deeper into the case, in assistance with a fellow patient, a sexy journalist and eventually even Dr. Leeman himself.
Visions may seem predictable and fairly obvious straight from the beginning, but there’s a lot more than superficially meeting the eye. It’s a puzzle gradually getting more difficult to solve with each piece that falls into place and you only comprehend the complete picture when the entire puzzle is solved. Your initial guess regarding the denouement might be correct, but nonetheless there are several twist and turns throughout the film that are simply too complex to predict. I realize this all sounds extremely vague and maybe even a bit misleading, but it honestly would be a shame to reveal anything more and risk spoiling a potentially surprising viewing experience. Try and think of Visions like some sort of odd but unexpectedly effective crossbreed of and . The special effects are top-class and overwhelming, even a tad bit exaggerated sometimes, and there are a handful of moments of grisly violence. Hopefully this clever and zealous Italian production receives a proper distribution, as it deserves a wide audience.