Trauma (1993)

3.0 out of 5

Argento's second foray into US financed co-production, the first being Two Evil Eyes with George A. Romero, shows what happens when a great director takes his bag of tricks to the other side of the pond and has to compromise with American producers.

Asia Argento, in her first lead for her father, plays Aura, an anorectic runaway who get’s picked up by David, Christopher Rydell, just as she’s about to take a plunge off a high bridge. Obviously they get caught up in a quest to find the serial killer known as “The Head hunter”. There’s a very typical Argentoesque plot, complete with shock twist at the end when Dr Judd, Frederic Forrest, meets Aura, who’s mother he once had a love affair with. The conventional cat and mouse narrative with red herrings is laid out and Piper Laurie get’s way to little screen time. Following a pretty decent climax, Dario rounds off Trauma with the worst piece of music he ever has used whilst the end credits roll.

Trauma is a tricky movie to take into the Argento canon, as it has a lot going for it, and almost as much that takes away from it. At times it almost breathes Profondo Rosso, at other times predictable American mush. The typical Gialli traits are there, many of Argento’s trademark themes and elements too – like a P.O.V. from a butterfly this time. The all round atmosphere tries to reach a level one would want from an Argento movie and at times the movie picks up and looks promising, but then there are times when it feels like some random director tried to make an Argento movie without the passion.

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