The Bloodstained Shadow (1978) - Mystery, Thriller

Hohum Score

89

Hohummer

The body of a schoolgirl is found in a meadow. The murderer is never caught, and years later; a young man named Stefano returns to the island and is reunited with his brother, the local priest.

IMDB: 6.4
Director: Antonio Bido
Stars: Lino Capolicchio, Stefania Casini
Length: 109 Minutes
PG Rating: N/A
Reviews: 10 out of 36 found boring (27.77%)

One-line Reviews (33)

A conversation with the girl on the train while arriving on the island goes nowhere and serves this no purpose other than a meet-cute that could've been arranged in other manners, much like the continuous trips back-and-forth to the Count's house for counselling on the mystery that result in his being thrown out for fear of using his visit as a chance to preach at him, leaving the entire excursion pointless.

Before long, Paolo (played by Craig Hill in a very intense manner) begins to receive threatening notes enjoining his silence, while the trio of regulars at the medium's seance get-togethers starts to meet very violent ends.

THE BLOODSTAINED SHADOW is an engaging if lesser giallo from director Antonio Bido.

In between the lacklustre death scenes and the travelogue-style footage of Venice, we get an uninteresting love story (with a gratuitous sex scene) and loads of talking.

And, of course, there's the obligatory pointless sex scene and a long trip through the canals that leads to nothing.

) As for the Anchor Bay DVD itself, it looks just fine, and the 13-minute interview with the modern-day Bido reveals him to be a man with an engaging personality and a clear memory.

Unfortunately the perpetrator falls into predictable giallo cliché that if you see enough of these films, it won't take long to figure out who the killer is.

Typically for Giallo, The Blood-Stained Shadow features a convoluted plot, and unfortunately Bido's plot pacing can be a little off at times, as the film is painfully slow at some points, and then whimsically clever at others.

But, looking at the IMDb comment I left less than a year ago, I called it "dull".

Set in and around Venice and heavily mired in the world of Catholicism, The Bloodstained Shadow is a dreary and unfulfilling giallo that brings nothing new to the genre.

Combined with technically impressive skills and a wonderfully engrossing mystery, there's a lot to like here.

And it's a fitting end for the perpetrator that comes totally unexpected.

It is slow - mainly due to some unnecessary scenes (the romance parts) and dragging out scenes too long (like walking, and walking, and they are still walking then finally get to where they are going).

The already slow pacing is too often interrupted with pointless footage, like an awful "we are falling in love" montage (mainly taking place in a speedboat) and a boring sex sequence.

The basic plot is mysterious and intriguing enough, and several of the murders are nicely gory and inventive, but the film contains way too many dull sequences and slow pacing, while the search for the killer's identity isn't involving enough for the viewer.

They are simply put, very boring together, and even a nude scene fails to give any sparks.

Such scenes conflict greatly with the more intense and focused investigation into the crime spree as those disappear for such long stretches of times that it feels somewhat leaden due to that.

The character drawings remain too vague, characters that are clearly important to the plot are only introduced late into the film and there's too much interval between the different murders in order to keep the story compelling enough.

With the community mostly disinterested in what's going on, especially through the advent of a Church confessional for secret-keeping, there's a wholly intriguing and worthwhile setup here when it comes to the community present here.

The characters are poorly drawn and uninteresting to follow and the film just doesn't seem to understand this and treats us to long sequences of them going about their day to day lives.

Overall, though, it's still a rather enjoyable entry.

) Add to that the artistic sense, music and photography that make the best Italian films so compelling and you have dark, mysterious, creepy fun!

It's quite slow and meandering so I haven't really got anything positive to say about it.

By the time the identity of the murderer was revealed (and eagle eyed viewers will probably have guessed already), I was struggling to stay awake.

Not unlike the previous years offering from the same director, Watch Me When I Kill, this giallo is somewhat different from the usual genre fare and despite being as complicated as his other and once more with a red herring on every corner and not the bloodiest of kills, this is most enjoyable.

But no delicate glass blowing to be seen, more the back gardens, back alleys and backwaters, all adding to the gloom of this evocative and fascinating picture.

It's a movie that gets sidetracked quite often, which is also part of the reason why the movie gets a bit slow at times.

A slow moving and unremarkable giallo.

Pacing is one of the weaknesses in this film as it becomes quite boring after the first half.

A beautifully photographed Venice provides a stunning and misty backdrop for this solid giallo.

The surprises that are in it are quite enjoyable and at least it's not a movie in which you can see from miles away who the killer at the end will turn out to be.

There are even more scenes set in the evocative, off the beaten track, Murano.

The film builds suspense pretty well and the set pieces are great, but they're few and far between, leaving us with an uninteresting love story that's lacking any chemistry between the actors.