Dial: Help / Minaccia d’amore (1988)

3.5 out of 5

If there’s one thing which can be said about the later films of Ruggero Deodato, it’s that the director’s work always retained a real sense of style, particularly during a time when the state of Italian genre cinema was entering a dire decline.

Arriving on the heels of Deodato’s intriguing Off Balance thriller from the same year, as well as the director’s successful Barbarians fantasy from ‘87, Dial: Help is a supernatural tale which revolves around the souls of lovelorn suicide victims, as they wreak havoc and take revenge via phone lines all throughout Rome.

The sexy ‘n seductive Charlotte Lewis stars as the unfortunate tourist to whom these spirits immediately latch, mentally torturing the young woman, whilst eliminating each of her friends in unique and bizarre fashions. It’s all a bit silly, really, but more than enough popcorn fun to keep all but the most jaded of Italophiles relatively entertained for ninety minutes, a duration made all the more bearable thanks to the sizzling screen presence of Lewis.

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