“Well, it’s certainly different. Note: different, not necessarily good”
This micro-budget Italian offering seems to go about things almost entirely in reverse. Rather than establishing the characters, then dropping them into a scenario, this starts with Nina investigating a missing girl, Anna. The disappearee seems to have some connection to the dodgy “Xstasy” video company, fronted by Cesare Mazza (Guerra), and behind that, an apparent Satanic cult under the leadership of Marcus (Visconti), who is actually a woman. Apparently, they take the offcasts of illegal Eastern Europeans from the porn shoots, and sacrifice them to their demonic master.
But what’s never really addressed in any real detail is Nina. Is she a cop? A private detective? An assassin for hire? And what exactly did she do to merit the title of, and I quote, “Crazy suicide girl.” Must have been something pretty cool and interesting, right? We never learn. She does point a revolver at her temple and pull the trigger, but since we have no clue if it’s loaded or not, I’m finding myself underwhelmed there. She does torture someone with a blowtorch to extract information from them. But I had just finished watching 24: Live Another Day, and let’s be honest, that isn’t enough to turn Nina into Jack Bauer in a dress.
I did quite like the heroine, who has an off-center attitude to her and a look which is not conventionally pretty. But the film probably needs to decide what it wants to be, and stick with it, rather than trying to combine aspects of the hard-boiled detective thriller, Dennis Wheatley adaptation, soft-porn and action heroine genres. Because, the scripts doesn’t handle any of them particularly well. For instance, the “detecting” aspects are so conveniently simplistic as to be an embarrassment, right from when Nina discovers a porn DVD in Anna’s bedroom. Another problem is an almost total lack of motivation for anyone involved here, from Nina through Cesare and up to ‘Marcus’: they seem to exist purely because the plot demands they do.
There’s no shortage of nudity and the gore effects are fairly plentiful, if characterized more by enthusiasm than quality. But it’s only at the very end, which hints at a sequel with the potential to be more interesting than this film, that you get some idea of what this was trying to accomplish. It’s a shame there wasn’t less of a gap between intent and execution, pun not intended.
Dir: Christian Arioli
Star: Irene Giordano, Mauro Cipriani, Gabriele Guerra, Stefania Visconti