‘Venicephrenia’ review. Álex de la Iglesia minus Álex de la Iglesia

Exquisite opening credits anticipate that the viewer is before a film that is going to pay homage to the great horror cinema of the middle of the last century… but no, nothing further. Veneziaphrenia moves from the classic slasher, with a group of crazy young men destined for sacrifice, to the thriller with claims about the loss of cultural identity of a city like Venice, which is devastated by an army of goofy and disrespectful tourists who pass like a mob through its streets. The problem with the film is that it doesn’t get off to a good start, either in one direction or the other.

a colossal frame

Alex de la Iglesia has always been an excessive filmmaker who has managed his best works when he has crossed the boundaries of political correctness with the safe conduct of a very successful black humor. in venicephrenia renounces a very important part of its essence, sarcasm, and that weighs like a slab on the whole story. The spectator expects that at any moment a spark will jump that never ends, something to which the chosen cast does not help either, one is hoping that the jester-murderer completes his work as soon as possible. The performances of the national cast, saving Ingrid García-Jonssonthey do not help to overcome a movie that, like the city, is sinking little by little.

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A disturbing evil

In what he does once again demonstrate his mastery is in the visual impact of the images, Álex de la Iglesia achieves transform the beautiful Italian city into a terrible and disturbing place, once again rescues the atavistic fear of clowns (Sad Trumpet Ballad) and plays his psychopath, played by a magnificent Cosimo Fuscoa formidable antagonist. The tape holds up well when moving in the realm of the frenetic and excessive, but deflates when the angle moves to Spanish tourists; all of them are hardly believable characters and they do not generate any empathy with the viewer.

Del slasher al thriller

Yes in the first part of the film the slasher canons are followed to the letter, with a succession of violent deaths in which the cabin in the woods has been replaced by the Venetian canals, halfway through the film a thriller is chosen in which a secret society emerges that seeks to keep tourists away from the city. There is a some rationalization of the use of terror as a political weapon, that is related to some of the current conflicts, but it is done in a superficial and anecdotal way. Behind that liberation struggle hides a terrible revenge! in which Rigoletto’s jester-murderer is just another pawn.

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The scenes follow each other without much connection and the characters show little rational behavior, when not implausible. In this section, the protagonist’s boyfriend takes the cake, whose appearance and disappearance in the middle of the film are totally inconsequential. The carnival, the costumes and their masks create a suitable atmosphere that is wasted when the film changes perspective, perhaps as a pure slasher it would have been at least entertaining.

a great soundtrack

It’s not that Veneziaphrenia is a bad movie, which it isn’t, but it’s inconsequential… it leaves few residues after viewing and that, in the case of Álex de la Iglesia, is not good news. Among all the set we must rescue the magnificent soundtrack of Roque Baths, that gives the tape the right notes at all times and creates with its music a feeling of restlessness that the actors have not been able to elaborate. On the other hand, visually it has remarkable moments like the costume party, but insufficient to hold the entire fabric.

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For the legion of followers who have Álex de la Iglesia as one of the great references of national cinema, this will be a slight disappointment, Veneziaphrenia is far from the best films by the Basque director, although it finishes better than other times a story that should have given more play due to the enormous visual power that the Venice Carnival offered.