Genre: Horror / Fantasy
Director: Dario Argento
Starring: Jennifer Connelly, Daria Nicolodi, Dalila Di Lazzaro, Donald Pleasence
Language: English, German, Italian
Duration: 110 min.
A young girl, with an amazing ability to communicate with insects, is transferred to an exclusive Swiss boarding school, where her unusual capability might help solve a string of murders.
Phenomena also known as Creepers, is a film directed by Dario Argento and co-written by Franco Ferrini. A potent combination of the giallo mystery films that he began his career with, and the iconic, young female protagonist driven supernatural horror films he later conceived in Suspiria and Inferno.
It stars a surprisingly capable thirteen-year-old Jennifer Connelly as Jennifer Corvino, the daughter of a famous American movie star sent to a prestigious Swiss boarding school. There she discovers the unique ability to communicate with insects, which she uses to help track down a serial killer, while she herself becomes a target.
This is another fabulously bizarre outing from Argento, maybe even his most mental, who shuns all logic and reason to deliver a film with a constantly hypnotic and otherworldly atmosphere from it's slow terrifying start to it's sudden explosive finish. Jennifer suffers from bouts of sleepwalking, and this is exactly what the film feels like, a strange journey filled with dreamlike images and characters.
Adding to the craziness is an eclectic soundtrack, including some beautiful ambient synth compositions by Bill Wyman and Terry Taylor, the unmistakable sounds of regular Argento collaborators Goblin, and a couple of head-banging heavy metal tracks from Iron Maiden and Mötorhead. The overall effectiveness of these disparate musical choices is highly debatable, but what's certain is that they will leave a striking impression.
All his trademarks including black gloved bloody murders are here, and the film opens with one of Argento's most suspenseful sequences of terror and violence. One featuring his eldest daughter Fiore as a fateful tourist in the Swiss countryside who just missed the last bus and unluckily stumbles into the killer's home.
It's such an incoherent mess of disconnected ideas, that you'll probably have to already be a seasoned Dario Argento fan to fully appreciate Phenomena, but if you are, then chances are you'll find it's one of his best.
— Bonjour Tristesse