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A musician witnesses the murder of a famous psychic, and then teams up with a fiesty reporter to find the killer while evading attempts on their lives by the unseen killer bent on keeping a dark secret buried.
For more about Deep Red and the Deep Red Blu-ray release, see Deep Red Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on May 2, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: David Hemmings, Daria Nicolodi, Gabriele Lavia, Clara Calamai, Macha Méril, Glauco Mauri
Director: Dario Argento
» See full cast & crew
Deep Red Blu-ray Review
A masterpiece picture of true terror earns a wonderful Blu-ray release from fan-favorite studio Blue Underground.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, May 2, 2011
I feel death.
Deep Red -- or perhaps better known as Profondo Rosso in its lengthier, superior Italian cut -- is a compelling, challenging, and deeply mysterious Horror/Thriller picture from one of Horror's most legendary filmmakers, Dario Argento (The Stendhal Syndrome). Argento's pictures may be generically classified as Horror, but as evidenced in Deep Red and so many of his other films, the terror is only a vehicle towards something far more alluring, and that is is the deep psychological undercurrents that define his pictures at their most influential but not necessarily most prominent level. Deep Red may be the director's crowning achievement in terms of meshing terror with disturbingly well-crafted and perfectly-realized emotional and psychological fears, motives, and consequences. Deep Red is best enjoyed as a provocative Thriller rather than a straight Horror picture, but it's the legitimately frightening scares Argento manages to find from the deepest recesses of his audiences's psyches that's the real key to making Deep Red such an effective Horror film, with the crude and stomach-churning violence only supporting, rather than defining, what makes the picture so great.
Helga Ulmann (Macha Meril) is a perceptive telepath who, while speaking to a captive audience about her abilities, suddenly senses a great pain and sees a blade penetrating her flesh, foretelling her own death. Her prophesy sadly becomes reality soon thereafter; she's slaughtered at the hands of a violent criminal, and as chance would have it, her death is witnessed from afar by a Jazz pianist named Marcus Daly (David Hemmings) moments after visiting with his friend Carlo (Gabriele Lavia). Marcus investigates the scene but arrives too late; Helga is dead, and he sees only a glimpse of a shadowy figure in a trenchcoat fleeing the scene. Marcus becomes obsessed with identifying the killer; as he tries to piece together what he did and did not see that night -- including his belief that he saw the killer's face in one of many eery paintings lining the victim's hallway -- he sinks deeper into the mystery, putting his life at risk with every new discovery he makes. He's assisted by a determined news reporter named Gianna Brezzi (Daria Nicolodi) who takes a personal liking to Marcus but who is herself becoming emotionally and professionally interested in Marcus's private investigation.
The basics of the story dictate that Deep Red is a murder mystery, and indeed it is, but to give it that label and simply walk away is to do a disservice to the brilliance that lies both behind the script and in Director Dario Argento's craftsmanship. As with some other Argento films, Deep Red is a deeply-rooted film where characters are motivated by long-since passed events, the film showcasing the manifestations of their years, maybe even decades, of personal struggle that's finally borne physical, deadly ramifications. This holds true for the heroes of the film, too, who are shaped by their existences to counter the evil and driven at all costs to see the situation resolved, not merely props who happen to be in the right (or wrong, as the case may be) place at the right/wrong time. Everything in Deep Red means something; Argento's picture is so carefully crafted, so subtly built from both visual and thematic perspectives that even a second viewing, with all of the basics of the plot in focus, may not even be enough to truly appreciate the brilliance of the film's layered elements and careful preparation that's evident in every critical scene for sure and even in some of the seemingly more inconsequential stretches. Deep Red is a textbook case of a picture made into greatness through vision and attention to detail. It's not the goriest and it's not the best-paced, but it is a picture that grabs on tight, holds on with relentless strength, and doesn't let go until it's over.
Deep Red gains much of its strength of story through the careful attention to detail. Argento manages to keep the story shrouded in complete mystery; both the killer's identity and motivations are only slowly pieced together, neither revealed or even pointed towards until Argento wants his audience to know the truth, and even then he has a few surprises in store. The picture is also highly dependent on the role of art and culture as both a necessary and supportive element; the picture understandably leans towards a macabre, unsettling tone that's reinforced by what are often disturbing, disoriented, abnormal, altered, or otherwise irregular paintings, perspectives, and locations. Not only does this lend a twisted sense of reality to the picture, it reinforces the uneasy tone that hovers throughout the movie and heightens the grisly visuals that accompany the kill scenes. Argento's use of first-person camera is a strong asset, too, particularly early in the film as the camera becomes the killer, maneuvering through various locales and once, even, stopping in front of a worn, battered, almost useless mirror that reflects only a shadowy, ghostly outline that's the film's most chilling shot and a perfect visual metaphor for what's to be revealed nearly two hours later. Strong performances and an utterly fantastic score by Argento favorite Goblin -- the group that, perhaps more than any other, has come to absolutely define the quintessential tone of the perfect Horror movie score -- round Deep Red into form as one of the finest Horror/Thrillers of the past several decades and one of Dario Argento's finest pictures, right up there with Suspiria.
Deep Red Blu-ray, Video Quality
Deep Red's 1080p Blu-ray transfer is sharp, stable, and good-looking from the top down. Detail is quite strong; a few soft scenes erase the finest little textures, but the bulk of the image reveals wonderful little nuances on faces, clothes, wood grains, building façades, and plenty of other objects seen throughout the film. Colors are sturdy and enjoy a good neutral presentation, while blacks, too, are deep, rich, and smooth, not particularly prone to crush and certainly never appearing washed out. A fairly light layer of grain is retained over the image, and only a small, barely noticeable, and certainly not distracting amount of white speckles appear on the screen. Other forms of print damage, digital manipulation, or compression artifacts are nowhere to be seen. This is one of Blue Underground's finest efforts yet.
Deep Red Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Deep Red features a handful of different audio options, including English and Italian DTS-HD MA 7.1 lossless soundtracks, one for each cut of the film (Italian with the longer Profondo Rosso cut and English with the shorter Deep Red cut). The Italian DTS track -- which most will probably choose -- offers a quality low end supporting a wonderfully balanced high-pitched opening title bit of Goblin goodness. The highest of the high end comes across as a little shriek-y and loose, but this is still a first-rate presentation. That's followed by smoother, lower, but no less silky-smooth Jazz music in one of the film's first shots. There's not much in terms of natural ambience outside of a few exterior scenes that feature a nice little bit of well-spaced and natural avian chirping. Directional effects are even more scarce, with a few passing cars on a busy highway heading across the front of the soundstage from both directions making for the most obvious example. Sound effects can be quite good if not a little crunchy; footfalls on wooden floors and the sound of crashing, shattering glass are handled nicely enough. Dialogue is generally strong, but can sometimes lose potency and sound a little shallow. Overall, though, this is a fine soundtrack that's primarily defined by the exceptional clarity and power of Goblin's memorable score.
Deep Red Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Aside from featuring both the 105-minute English cut and the 126-minute Italian cut, Blue Underground's Blu-ray release of Deep Red also features the following extras:
Deep Red Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Deep Red is an amazingly intense and flawlessly-crafted film that's easily one of the best pictures of Director Dario Argento's lengthy filmography that is itself packed with first-class movies. That he's managed such a layered story with such an uneasy feel hanging over it that grasps the audience and never releases until the very end through what amounts to little more than what would in lesser hands be a basic murder mystery is an astounding accomplishment. The film is also psychologically and emotionally complex, not to mention supported by a wonderful score, a great cast, perfectly complimentary set design, and flawless direction. To be sure, it's no wonder why Deep Red is such a remarkably complete and re-watchable film that will reward viewers every time. Blue Underground's Blu-ray release of Deep Red features high-grade video and audio to go along with a nice assortment of complimentary supplements. Highly recommended.
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Deep Red Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Deep Red Blu-ray in April (Update) - April 12, 2011
Fangoria has the scoop that Blue Underground will release Deep Red (Profondo rosso) on Blu-ray on April 26. This Dario Argento cult horror film will be presented in its uncensored English-language version, and (exclusive for the BD) an exclusive full-length Italian-language ...
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