Phenomena (1985)

4.0 out of 5

Dario Argento's Phenomena is an incredible and pretty strange thriller that seems to exist in a parallel universe where science, pseudo-science and the supernatural all happily cohabit the same weird space.

Jennifer Connelly can communicate with insects and her ability is confirmed by an eminent Scottish entymoligist played by the suitably odd Donald Pleasence. There is a killer on the loose.

While on first viewing the Carrie-like Phenomena may appear a little strange unless one is willing to accept some of the more left-field elements, which are perfectly acceptable with in the realm of fantasy film, the viewer will find subsequent revisiting of this pretty surreal work to be a rewarding experience.

Set in the by now familiar Argento backdrop of a school for girls this film brings to the table such delight as somnambulism, the communion with insects and an intelligent chimp that works as a sort of monkey butler to the wheelchair bound Pleasence. The film also features one time partner and long term collaborator Daria Nicolodi and Agento protege Michele Soavi of Dellamorte Dellamore and Stage Fright fame.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics