October 2, 2014

Movie Review: Aenigma

Despite only seeing a handful of his films, Lucio Fulci has climbed his way up my favorite directors list. Still, I have always heard that his movies tailed off in the latter years prior to his untimely death, but had not had the pleasure of seeing any of them. Well, there is Cat in the Brain, which I really kind of like. Here I am with one made a couple of years prior to Cat, a little flick known as Aenigma. It is one of the lesser known titles and with good reason. Should you not see this one, you are not missing all that much as it is really not that good of a movie.

Lucio Fulci directed Aenigma from a screenplay he co-wrote with frequent collaborator Giorgio Mariuzzo (House by the Cemetery, The Beyond, Contraband). It is not the most original, and does not really have much in the way of Fulci's trademark gore, although it does still feel very Fulci-esque; albeit, like someone else trying to be Fulci. The tale feels like a mash up of Carrie and Patrick, with a dash of Suspiria. I know, that doesn't sound all that bad, and it shouldn't be, and it isn't, but it isn't all that good either.

Kathy (Mijlijana Zirojevic) is a plain, lonely girl at an all girls boarding school. We watch her classmates get her all dressed up for a date with the school's hunky gym instructor (I guess it is all right for teachers and students to get together here). It turns out to be a trick, and all her mean classmates are watching on as Kathy thinks it is going to get steamy. Embarrassed, she runs off where she is hit by a car. The accident leaves her in a coma and this is where the movie really begins.

Kathy is actually telekinetic and leaves her body, flies over the town, and possesses a new student at the school, Eva (Lara Lamberti from A Blade in the Dark). She then goes about exacting her revenge on those who caused her current predicament. This leads to some interesting, if somewhat restrained imagery.

In all honesty, Aenigma is rather boring and moves at a terribly languid pace that never picks up. There are certainly interesting ways of death employed. There is a death by reflection, one by snails (yes, snails, don't ask why she just doesn't get up and brush them off, but it looks great), and one where a piece of art comes to life to deal some death.

It crawls along to the point where you may find that you stop caring. A lot of the movie does bear that Fulci look, there is his fingerprints all over the place, smudged to be sure, but they are there. The camera angles, the strong blue lighting, and the methods of killing are all quite Fulci, they just do not go far enough, as if his heart was not fully into it.

Sure, there are worse movies out there and this one is not good. Sure, it has some nice atmosphere and some good ideas, but it is just a little too far to the slow side. Still, check it out. It is a weird mix of not good and should see.

Mildly Recommended.

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