Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Girl in Room 2A (1974)

Many a time has someone waxed poetic over the Giallo film. I'm too lazy to talk about the rich history, and I've already done that, so here's a Wikipedia article that explains all you need to know. Anyways, there are plenty of classics in this genre, as well as some under appreciated gems. Then there are films that aren't exactly the height of caliber. Films such as "The Girl in Room 2A", which offers some moments but largely feels like a wasted opportunity.

Margaret Bradley (Daniela Giordino) has just gotten out of prison and is looking to start anew. She takes residency at a boarding house, and this being a horror film, staying at places like this might be a bad idea. This turns out to be a bad idea due to the fact that a sadistic cult has a thing for sacrificing beautiful women, and they've got their eyes on her.

As I did say, there are some fine moments to be found here. For exploitation fans, there's plenty of female nudity on display, and the kills may not be as stylish as they are in say, an Argento or Bava film, they are still bloody and vicious enough. There's also a nice score by Berto Pisano (whose other credits include "Strip Nude For Your Killer", "Burial Ground" and "Death Smiles At Murder"), a decent lead turn from Giordino, and a few choice visuals. So, how does this film end up falling short?

For starters, the direction is flat. Interestingly enough, this isn't from an Italian director, but from American born William Rose, whose credits mostly include sexploitation films like "50,000 B.C. (Before Clothes)" and "The Smut Peddlers (his only other horror credit is as one of the writers for the dreadful "Frankenstein's Castle of Freaks.") While he does offer some fun moments, he mostly seems to be lost as to what to do with a movie like this. Many Giallo films, even some of the bad ones, at least have a little style to offer. Here, we end up getting what feels like an Italian version of a rather lame regional horror film.

It also really fails in the mystery department. The raison d'etre in Giallo films is usually the mystery, and if it isn't handled well, the movie can kinda stall. That's what ends up happening here, as there's little that's interesting about the mystery on display here. It's mostly just people talking a whole lot and occasionally having to stop and explain what's going on, and that can be boring. It also doesn't come to a good resolution either. In fact, the film falls apart at that point, and the ending itself feels like the people behind it just started making things up as they went along.

I've seen far worse as far as Giallo films are concerned, but this is still a bit of an artless mess. Hardcore connoisseurs of Euro Trash will probably enjoy this, but the rest of us will end up feeling a bit underwhelmed.

Rating: 4.5/10

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