The Stendhal Syndrome (1996) - Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Hohum Score

22

Watchable

A young policewoman slowly goes insane while tracking down an elusive serial rapist/killer through Italy when she herself becomes a victim of the brutal man's obsession.

IMDB: 6.1
Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Asia Argento, Thomas Kretschmann
Length: 113 Minutes
PG Rating: N/A
Reviews: 18 out of 78 found boring (23.07%)

One-line Reviews (76)

It packs bursts of bloody violence and lulls of chilling madness; it's a film that's psychologically disturbing as well as intensely suspenseful.

Instead, Stendhal is just a mean, pessimistic debacle, bookended by a flawed beginning and end, but a good, entertaining middle.

Viewers be beware though, it is psychologically very intense and can be hard to sit through for the sheer coldness and brutality it depicts.

It is fascinating since the director was given the chance to explore violence and art at once.

While nowhere in the area of "Profundo Rosso" or "Four Flies On Grey Velvet", I found the film to be gripping and fascinating.

The Stendhal Syndrome is a real psychosomatic illness, diagnosed by an Italian psychiatrist, Graziella Magherini, whose book on the subject was the primer for the intriguing script by Argento and Franco Ferrini.

Ambitious, off-putting but nonetheless, fascinating Argento's crime/horror/thriller.

Anna's character is really intriguing.

After a seemly abrupt climax, Argento continues to overwhelm the public with a series of confusing and well-considered plot twists.

His work over the last decade has been erratic in quality and consistency, which is one of the reasons why "The Stendhal Syndrome" is so refreshing: it jettisons most of the director's florid stylistic touches (including extreme and obtuse camera moves) and focuses on a story that is intricate and compelling.

But Dario Argento is uncomfortable dealing with people and their emotions, and by concentrating so much time on the harrowing events that messes up Anna and not on Anna herself, the film feels flat and predictable.

The wordless opening seven minutes as she wanders through the Uffizi and her vision is assailed by the images, culminating with her literally falling into one of the paintings, is as bewitching an opening as I've ever seen, made all the more unsettling by Ennio Morricone's stunning score, featuring a hair-curling simple melody of eight minor notes.

Stylish Argento Film, With Good Performances, However It's Very Dull, And The Ending Was Terrible.

It has a few Hitchcockian elements and will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Anyway, being Argento the plot is filled with many twists and turns, but I must admit to getting a bit bored before it finished.

The idea that art could "harm" its viewer, is an intriguing way of Argento dealing with filmic violence.

When she is targeted by the serial killer she is hunting, she is raped and beaten and so leads Argento's best character study and one of the most intense of his films to date.

It looks drab and flat.

This Film is Filled with Gorgeous and Disturbing Images and is a Surreal Template Laid Upon a Standard Serial Killer Story with a Predictable Twist.

What happened to the director who did visually stunning films like DEEP RED or SUSPIRIA or INFERNO?!?!

It is psychologically intense and even intelligent.

The plot of this movie is hard to describe and equal parts intriguing and unpleasant.

The film stars his daughter, Asia (whose interesting relationship with Dario adds to the intriguing and off-beat persona he puts out), as Anna, a beautiful police detective in Rome.

The musical score in the movie is dull and doesn't add up to whatever feeling this movie has.

Bad acting, BAD dubbing, weak and pretty pointless story.

and apart from the terrible voice acting, the translated screenplay is clumsy and banal in the extreme.

well boring which I've never said before about watching a Dario Argento movie.

A must for Argento fans and a good find for those that like their horror films extra intense.

She suffers from the real life Stendhal Syndrome, symptoms include rapid heartbeat, dizziness, confusion and hallucinations, brought on by an overdose of beautiful art, no I don't understand what shes doing in an art museum if she suffers from this either.

This is a stylish Argento film, with good performances, however it's very dull and the ending was terrible!.

This psychological thriller may not be for everyone, but it is certainly worth watching for Argento's direction, Morricone's music, and the beautiful Asia Argento.

This drawing of attention to otherwise mundane events is a lot like the gun battle scene in "Three Kings".

The film is in typical giallo territory - nice locations, a serial killer brutalising women, a slow police investigation, a tormented lead - and the idea of the Stendhal Syndrome of the title is both original and interesting, in that it really exists.

Whilst Argento does strike a bold note by solving the mystery early on,the Giallo elements are never able to fully recover,due to their being no mystery or tension of finding the "unknown" for the film to build upon,which leads to the Giallo elements plodding along to the finish line.

Quite Interesting if a Bit Slow .

I would bet if this film was rated in American ratings system it would have been NC-17 because it is just intense in places.

The story is intriguing and well-developed,and there are some gruesomely surreal moments including Alfredo waving at Anna through the hole he's blown in another woman's cheek and the messy puncturing of a man's gullet with a pair of rusty springs.

His stunning daughter Asia stars as Anna Manni, a police detective on the trail of a serial rapist / murderer.

Absolutely stunning the way the horrific just appears just like that, in the midst of bewilderment.

This is a rather dull Argento film, that is only worth watching if you have nothing better to do, even then you can watch something better.

The film dispatches the murderer just over an hour into the film, and then the second hour seems rather pointless.

Whatever memoirs come down the pike twenty years later, it must be said: Argento for certain lets it all hang out, and the land-mined terrain he maps is, to my taste, thrilling.

The tension and music is amazing, the film devotes itself to really unsettling you, rather than just entertaining you like other recent Argento's.

This still doesn't stop the film from being the best thing that Argento directed in the 90's, and his most enjoyable film overall since Opera almost ten years before.

The story is based on the "Stendhal's Syndrome", unknown for most of the viewers and in accordance with the Wikipedia, is "is a psychosomatic disorder that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to an experience of great personal significance, particularly viewing art.

The idea is truly interesting and Anna's relationship with the killer is fascinating.

Not a masterpiece for certain, but one that regardless offers an interesting idea and some truly thrilling moments of terror and dread.

While the film's CGI work tends to look dated, the scenes themselves are visually stunning to watch at first.

Story: Stendhal Syndrome is defined by good old wikipedia as being, "a psychosomatic illness that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to art, usually when the art is particularly beautiful or a large amount of art is in a single place," and that's the very first thing that our main protagonist, played by Asia Argento, experiences in this movie.

For all this movie's psychoanalytical posturing and the torments it inflicts on the heroine, its darkest moments have a put-on quality that Argento hides behind an intriguing story, flurries of exciting images and scenes of sexual aggression that are painful to look at –- at the same time erotic and revolting.

And I'll admit that I completely love the way Argento indulges himself with everything; the slow pacing, the drastic change in the middle, the overly brutal (and experimental) violence.

"La Sindrome Di Stendhal" aka "The Stendhal Syndrome", which was made in-between "Trauma" and the disappointing "Il Fantasma Dell'Opera" (1998), is certainly one of his lesser films, but definitely a more than decent, very suspenseful, atmospheric and often quite weird psychological Horror effort that his fans cannot afford to miss.

Although there are plot holes and the usual poor dubbing/listless performances, the film makes some valid points about the relationship between art and those that view it, and the always fascinating notions of sight and perception (the things we see and things we feel).

The Stendhal Syndrome, which followed the disappointing Trauma (1993), features a typically bizarre plot that offers plenty of potential but fails to hit the mark in almost every possible way: gone are Argento's cleverly orchestrated scenes of hyper-stylised violence, only to be replaced by uncharacteristically tawdry scenes of rape and sadism; there's little evidence of the director's trademark stunning visuals to help distract the viewer from the dull and uneven pacing (the creaky CGI just doesn't cut it); and the overall enjoyment factor is further hampered by a unlikeable central performance from Dario's daughter Asia.

The killer is revealed almost immediately so there's no surprise or tension as to who's committing these brutal rapes and murders for most of the film, and the silly but entertaining twist ending takes absolutely ages to happen, the best part of 50 minutes after Alfredo is supposedly killed.

The Stendhal Syndrome, starring Dario's daughter Asia, has a promising story that ultimately goes nowhere, and with horrible CGI effects and slow pacing the movie fizzles out into nothing.

However, as the film moved onward, it worked towards a too predictable denouement.

Other minuspoints are also: slow middlesection (the therapy sessions really go on forever), some embarrassing performances (could be the dubbing) and a few akward plot-turns.

Well made and quite entertaining as far as it goes, but a little tedious in places, should have been 20 odd minutes shorter.

Directed by Dario Argento (Suspiria, Inferno, The Third Mother) made an interesting, bizarre, stylish film with plenty of the director's trademark and as well for some suspenseful sequences.

It starts of very well, however it soon becomes very dull and rather uninteresting, and the whole 2nd half, was rather silly in my opinion.

It sees a return to the atmospheric dream-like charm of his earlier films like 'Phenomena' and 'Suspiria', but adopting his more recent sadism (it's always there, just a different style in his newer films) that gave slight high points in his otherwise dull modern films.

Situations like this are abound in the film, and rather than helping advance the plot, they merely slow it down.

While it is one of lesser films, "The Stendhal Sydrome" is nevertheless a suspenseful, atmospheric and highly recommendable film with some downright ingenious elements that Horror lovers should definitely not miss.

Phantom, although far from perfect, was still an enjoyable movie with plenty of whacked out Argento touches.

A fairly middling-to-good thriller from Dario Argento; not up there with the best of his, but worth watching anyway, even if just for the stylish photography and twisting character study of madness.

The visions of a young woman floating into paintings (The so-called "Stendhal Syndrome" are breathtaking.

Intense study of a psychopath at play .

Does she fall asleep?

In a world of banal formulaic television designed for peons with four-second attention-spans, this is stunning cinema, regardless of moral judgements.

Nonetheless, The Stendal Syndrome is a compelling and intense thriller that has got Argento's bookmark all over it.

None other than the great Ennio Morricone delivers a brilliant and immensely eerie score that intensifies the creepy atmosphere, and, as it is always the case with Argento's films, the film is visually stunning and highly suspenseful.

With endless walls of paintings and city skyscapes of timeless architecture, why introduce such banality?

You see, I had viewed about half an hour of the film one night on a cable channel and found it to be terribly slow.

It amazes me how this film can be at once so brutal and tender, intense and subtle, terrible and beautiful.

For all its shortcomings, however, there's a fierce intelligence underpinning the film's otherwise predictable scenario: Asia de-emphasizes her femininity in response to Kretschmann's initial attack (she cuts her hair short), and uses a long blonde wig to re-establish her sexuality after a second assault in which she emerges the victor (or does she?