Trauma review by The Grim Ringler




It’s always a bit of a sad thing to watch an idol, or someone you are a fan of lose the handle on their talent. I refuse to believe that they have lost the talent as you don’t just have it, you develop it over time. But you can get into a funk, for whatever reason, where you are just not producing solid product anymore. I think it’s as simple as losing touch with your talent. Working too little, or too much, or just not taking the time to flesh out the work to its fullest. A director, one of many, that this has happened to is Dario Argento, an Italian director known for his shocking horror thrillers of the seventies and eighties. He has had one very good film in the nineties and the rest, well, the rest are better left unmentioned. Stendahl Syndrom is pretty damned good, though not great, but the rest of his recent work has been lacking, to say the least. Trauma was one of the films that lead into his slide, and was a hint at the horror to come.

A young anorexic girl loses her mother and father in a horrible double murder where both are decapitated mysteriously. A young graphic artist that lives in the city and who had helped her before takes her in after their murders, hiding her from a doctor of hers who wants to put her back into therapy, and from whatever monster committed the murders. But the murders are but two among many where ex members of a hospital have been targeted by the killer for reasons no one can piece together. As the bodies begin to pile up the young woman and her protector start delving into the mystery behind the killings and find that the victims are all linked…but how? There may not be time to answer that question or to figure out who the killer really is. Time is running out, and the killer is closing in on the young woman and the man who is falling in love with her. And they may be next on the killer’s list if they can’t find the answers in time.

A mediocre thriller with a great premise, the hell of it with this film is that you can see glimpses of old Argento all over the place. There are some great shots, some interesting characters, and some great set ups, but, little of this comes together. The lead actor isn’t half as interesting as Karl Malden or David Hemmings or a host of his other leads, and his daughter Asia, the lead actress in the film, hadn’t yet gotten to a point where she could pull off her complex role. She isn’t bad, but she isn’t as textured as she needed to be. And what disappointed me as a fan was that it’s so reserved. This is a damned movie about decapitations and there is barely any blood at all. A small and pithy complaint but I was anxious to see this film uncut, as it was touted as being and, really, he uncut Seed of Chucky is more interesting than this. Ack.

More than anything, I think my disappointment stems from the fact that this film shows that Argento just isn’t moving away from the material he has covered, and much more effectively, earlier in his career. Here we have another serial killer, another mystery from the past, and more questionable portrayals of women. And the hell of it is that he’s more talented than this. Much more talented. Yet he keeps doing these horror thrillers, which would be fine, if he’d do something fresh. He, like Tobe Hooper hasn’t evolved as a storyteller, and it’s a damned shame. I will always hold out hope for them both, but with each successive bomb, it gets harder to do. Someone needs to have a sit down with Mr. Argento and really get him to see that, this is the end of his career approaching, but there is still time to create some memorable and terrifying horror films. As it is, Trauma is a passably mediocre exercise in walking down memory lane. And as a fan, I want to see some new scenery before the ride’s over.


6 out of 10 Jackasses
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