Nicolas Roeg’s atmospheric adaptation of Daphne DuMaurier’s classic story is a haunting mediation on grief, love and loss, told through a stylish lens of supernatural terror that makes this one of the most effective horror films of all-time. In Don’t Look Now, an antiquities dealer (Donald Sutherland) and his wife (Julie Christie), in mourning after the accidental drowning of their young daughter, journey to elegantly decaying Venice during the off-season to help renovate a church, and also to hopefully repair their strained relationship.
“It remains one of the great horror masterpieces, working not with fright, which is easy, but with dread, grief and apprehension.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
But their encounter with two strange sisters, one of whom is a blind clairvoyant, unleashes unsettling premonitions that may be warnings of danger courtesy of their deceased daughter, and soon the couple is pulled into a sinister excursion through the shadowy back alleys and deserted canals of the city, as well as onto the radar of a warped serial killer terrorizing Venice. A brilliant variation on Italy’s homegrown giallo thriller genre then enjoying major success in early 1970s European cinema, Don’t Look Now upended conventional horror film clichés with its surreally kaleidoscopic imagery, dreamlike editing and a bold willingness to let its mysteries remain mysterious on several levels of the reality vs. illusion spectrum. Intensely erotic, nightmarishly macabre and emotionally stunning, Don’t Look Now (voted the best British film of all-time in a 2011 Time Out critics’ poll) is an unforgettable thriller with a real throat-grabber of an ending that stands as one of the greatest finales in horror movie history. (Dir. by Nicolas Roeg, 1973, UK/Italy, in English/Italian with subtitles, 110 mins., Rated R)