{2jtab: Movie Review}

Inferno - Blu-ray Movie Review


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2 stars

Dario Argento calls this film his most sincere.  Fans of Argento call it his most incomprehensible.  Inferno is both.  Highly charged with a rich atmosphere and a poor sense of narrative structure, the film operates more as a meditation upon what frightens us rather than a traditional tale of horror and, even then, it still doesn’t reach the summit established by other Argento films.

Inferno has a story.  It just doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it does exist…somewhere in the esoteric region of Argento’s imagination, mind you.  Essentially, it involves the discovery of a book which speaks of a longstanding myth regarding the houses built for three evil sisters - one in Germany, one in New York, and one in Rome - with whom you do not mess with or hope to ever encounter in your life.  Ever.  The cast of Inferno - Irene Miracle, Leigh McCloskey, Eleonora Giorgi, Daria Nicolodi, and Alida Valli – all tangle with these three sisters and pay the ultimate price in buckets of baroque-themed blood inside what can only be described as a dream-like quest that would leave even Freddy Krueger at a loss of words.

There really are no answers to the multiple mysteries that haunt this movie and that’s too much of a kick to the crotch for most audiences to walk away from.  It’s Italian.  It’s creepy and that’s about it.  You want to believe that the rich visuals and super-soaked atmosphere will eventually pay off in a satisfying conclusion.  They don’t.  Moments work of pure terror and then that pesky storyline fails to make sense of what you are watching.

Argento’s visual extravagance – established in Deep Red and carried over into Susperia – is there and makes the insane happenings easier to digest.  The shock factor goes over the top in some scenes – the most effective being the scene in which Miracle gradually loses her head – and goes off the rails at other moments.  Flesh feeding rats anyone?  I mean, really…

Yet, in spite of those moments, Inferno, a film that never had an American opening, is considered a more subdued Argento.  The lighting is less garish and just a bit more exaggerated in blues and reds and even the horror has less of a gore factor about it; everything about Inferno suggests that Argento is dialing back his horror-tuned knob toward a more muted approach.

I guess this muted idea includes the story, too.  Cryptic and haunted, not even the benefit of having the Rosetta stone will help you decipher the horrific happenings of Argento’s Inferno.


{2jtab: Film Info}

Inferno - Blu-ray Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: R.
: Dario Argento
: Dario Argento
Leigh McCloskey; Irene Miracle; Eleonora Giorgi; Daria Nicolodi; Alida Valli
Genre: Horror | Mystery
Come face to face with hell
Memorable Movie Quote: "There are mysterious parts in that book, but the only true mystery is that our very lives are governed by dead people."
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Official Site:
Release Date: April 2, 1980
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
March 29, 2011

Synopsis: Semi-sequal to 'Suspiria' has a American college student in Rome, and his sister in New York investigating a series of killings in both locations where their resident addresses are the domain of two covens of witches.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Details}

Inferno - Blu-ray Movie Review

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
2 stars

4 stars

Blu-ray Experience
3 Stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - March 29, 2011
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH, French, Spanish
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; English: Dolby Digital 5.1 EX; English: Dolby Digital 2.0; Italian: Dolby Digital Mono
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)

Presented in High Definition by Blue Underground, their 1080p transfer of this film from 1980 is pretty solid.  Colors are great and the shadows are rich, yet some banding occurs along the way toward reaching its denouement.  Grain and detail are exceptional, granting this 30-year-old film new life on blu-ray.  Yes, the film lacks the production value of a new release and, yes, that’s noticeable; however, the film looks as fresh as it has ever looked…especially considering North American audiences never had the chance to see this film on the big screen.


Special Features:

I guess someone on Blue Underground’s staff got the memo about Inferno’s standing among its fans because short of a couple of interviews with its now-aged stars and a brief introduction from Argento himself, there simply is nothing to the supplemental material of Inferno.

  • Art & Alchemy: Interview with Star Leigh McCloskey (15 min)
  • Reflections of Rose: Interview with Star Irene Miracle (13 min)
  • Interview with Writer/Director Dario Argento (8 min)
  • Theatrical Trailer

{2jtab: Trailer}