Sunday, 22 October 2017

Thirteen Nights of Halloween Horror | Night Four - Don't Look Now (1973)

image credit: british lion films

When it came to choosing thirteen horror films that I’d never seen, naturally I went to my Dad. There have been many Saturday nights where we flick through channels searching for a random, cheesy horror film to watch. Never from the beginning and always something we’ve seen parts of before, it’s a tradition (I Know What You Did Last Summer, the Final Destination films and Sharknado are personal favorites). 

The famous catch with him is that he’ll watch a film, then forget about it the day after. So, I wasn’t expecting much when I asked him for some recommendations, but to my complete surprise, he started talking about the obscure (for him) 70s horror/thriller, Don’t Look Now.

Similar to Rosemary’s Baby, I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first. It wasn’t until the credits rolled and I read up on the film after that I came to fully appreciate Nicolas Roeg’s fantastic vision, and the tragic exploration of child bereavement, grief and the infamous aura surrounding ‘second sight’.

A paranormal thriller, Don’t Look Now explores the relationship between John (Donald Sutherland) and Laura Baxter (Julie Baxter) after the accidental death of their young daughter, Christine (Sharon Williams). After meeting two elderly sisters in Venice – one of which claims to be psychic – it is suggested that John also has ‘the gift’, and is ultimately in danger from an unknown entity if he and Laura stay there. John periodically witnesses strange foreboding visions throughout the film, including a funeral procession involving his wife and a small child wearing a red coat similar to his deceased daughter. 

It wasn’t until after the film that I came to the realization that John had been witnessing his own death ‘flash before’ his eyes throughout the film, and that the twist was that he had this second sight, and was able to foresee his daughter and himself dying. A narrative that leaves you that perplexed at its end is a sign of a terrific film, and Don’t Look Now lives up to it. Intellectually stimulating and eerily macabre, Don’t Look Now is a horror-thriller that sticks with you long after the screen fades to black. 

“Nothing is what it seems.”

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