Blu-ray review: Deep Red

Starring: David Hemmings, Daria Nicolodi
Director: Dario Argento

In Deep Red, Dario Argento sticks close to the classic giallo formula – the black-gloved serial killer, the damsels in peril, the eyewitness who becomes an amateur sleuth – with undeniably stunning results. David Hemmings plays Marcus, a mild-mannered teacher of classical piano who witnesses his neighbour, a well-known psychic, being brutally murdered and embarks upon some sleuthing (and property renovating) in an attempt to unmask the culprit. Why does he investigate? Awkward questions of motivation evaporate into an atmosphere that from the first feels doomy and dreamlike, the characters compelled like sleepwalkers. The script is light and bantering, with the meek Marcus comically thrown by his encounters with tough-talking feminists, flirty transvestites, aggressively spurting cappuccino machines and other aspects of modern Italy. But beneath the chatty, twittering surface the atmosphere of clenched fear never lets up, and there’s a real nightmare flavour to the setpieces, with a bathtub murder which is an coldly savage as the shower scene in Psycho. Lush, decadent Art Deco design, velvety smooth ‘Scope cinematography and an intense, fetishistic attention to detail all combine to demonstrate that Argento truly is one of the master stylists of Italian horror. 8/10

Argento fans will be delighted with this 4K transfer. All of the setpieces and elaborate setpieces look spectacular. You can practicality stroke the plush crimson interior of the opera house in the opening scene. Shortly afterwards, the moody scene by the fountain has rich, inky shadows and a sharp glitter of mica from the granite wall behind. Throughout, the three-dimensional feel of the transfer gives an extra weight to the director’s brooding tracking shots. 10/10

This release comes with two versions of the film and a host of extras.