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Inferno (Blu-ray Review)

We told you we would be back with more material from our friends over at Blue Underground and here we are.  WhySoBlu? is proud to present Dario Argento’s Inferno on Blu-ray!  Dario Argento is one of Italy’s premiere old school horror directors along with Lucio Fulci, but whose material is totally different from one another in some aspects.  Inferno can be considered the middle film in The Three Mothers trilogy.  Suspiria came before, and The Mother of Tears after.  I have not seen either of those, so take this unbiased review as you will.  I look forward to more Dario Argento material on Blu-ray in the future for review. 

Film

Inferno is the story of a mysterious diary that reveals the secret of “The Three Mothers” which will unleash evil across the world.  Inferno’s evil spreads all the way from Rome to New York City.  The book was written by the architect Varelli and tells of The Three Mothers who are only known as tears, sorrow, and darkness.  All three of them are housed separately in Rome, Freiburg, and New York.  They must be stopped before this great evil is unleashed onto the world.

As I said in the opening paragraph, Inferno is the middle chapter of an “unofficial” trilogy of horror films that references the diary of “The Three Mothers.”  I guess that’s why I was kind of lost.  I have not seen Suspiria, so that may be one of the reasons why I don’t necessarily “get” what was going on.  What I did get and understood was the blood and gore.  I don’t need a refresher course on those things, because they pretty much speak for themselves in Inferno.

Dario Argento is also an eccentric expert in lighting.  Some of the scenes composed in Inferno are so beautiful you wouldn’t even think that you were watching a horror film at all.  Argento will have a midnight blue background, his actor will be in the middleground, and behind them there will be a yellow light coming through a window while a magenta color will highlight their hair.  The craziest thing about lighting this way is that none of the colors clash.  It’s all been planned ahead.  Lighting like this, in the hands of lesser talent, would be fatal.  In addition to the lighting, some of the visual and optical effects are amazing.  For a thirty one year old film the photographic and optical effects look like they were dreamed up on a computer.  They were not.  There’s a really cool optical effect towards the end of the film that I will not spoil, but it is FLAWLESS!

Other scenes in Inferno may take some time to digest, because it isn’t all spelled out for you.  Inferno will not be for the average horror film viewer, because it’s not a “splash page” of a horror film.  There is blood, violence, and gore, but you will have to sit there patiently while the story unfolds before you.  I’m giving Inferno a neutral rating, because I need to get my hands on Suspiria. Once I watch that film, I’m sure Inferno will make more sense.

Video

Inferno is presented in 1080p 1.85:1 widescreen.  Here’s a film rating that I wish I could give a higher score to, but again, have to remain neutral.  Certain scenes do suffer considerably from crush, murkiness, and muddyness.  What does rise to top are the brilliant colors.  The blood reds, magenta highlights, yellow lights, orange-red fires, etc., all look terrific!  Dario Argento films were made for Blu-ray.  Some scenes do look a bit soft, but I believe that’s the director trying to convey a “ghostly” point.

Audio

Inferno is presented in DTS HD-Ma 7.1.  Here’s a bit of a tricky one.  Inferno is 7.1, but you wouldn’t know it, because the rear speakers don’t even break a sweat.  On the other hand, the front speakers and LFE channel do produce some very clean and clear effects.  Inferno’s music score was composed by Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake, and Palmer), so there will be some nice guitar sounds crashing through the front in addition to some traditional synthesizers.  Those are its good points.  I just wish that the rear channels had a bit more kick to them.

Special Features

Inferno does not contain many special features, although two of the interviews are presented in HD, the rest are in SD only.  A better supplemental package would have been appreciated. I did enjoy the Leigh McCloskey interview, because the guy is a pretty amazing artist (fine arts), and he takes the viewer into his awesome art studio and shows off some of his Inferno artwork that he created while he was working on the film.  It was really cool.

  • Dario Argento Intro (SD)
  • Art & Alchemy – Interview with Star Leigh McCloskey (HD)
  • Reflections of Rose – Interview with Star Irene Miracle (HD)
  • Interview with Writer/Director Dario Argento and Assistant Director Lamberto Bava (SD)
  • Theatrical Trailer (SD)

 

 

Final Thoughts

I need to do my Dario Argento homework and watch Suspiria, then come back, and re-evaluate Inferno’s film score.  Please keep in mind that my final score is an averaged out tally of all the categories involved.  The lack of substantial special features drags the film down a notch a bit when averaged out.  Inferno, on a technical level, is an amazing film to watch, because the production is grand and stylish.  The coherency of the plot is another matter.  Viewers (myself included) are advised to watch Suspiria first before tackling Inferno.

 

Order Inferno on Blu-ray!


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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

2 Responses to “Inferno (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    Interesting.

    I’m curious to hear your thoughts on Suspira when you see it. I like the opening and a few parts during the film, but I’m not a big fan overall. Although it has some impressive use of color, and would look great on blu-ray

  2. Brian White

    Great review Gerard!