A BLADE IN THE DARK
**** Out of 5
Release Date- May 11th, 1983 (Italy)
Running Time- 108-Minutes
Screenplay- Elisa Briganti & Dardano Sacchetti
Director- Lamberto Bava
Starring- Andrea Occhipinti, Anny Papa, Fabiola Toledo, Michele Soavi, Valeria Cavalli, Stanko Molnar, Lara Naszinsky
Despite having a pretty successful career it’s not easy being Lamberto Bava seeing as his father is the legendary Mario Bava one of the most influential filmmakers to come out of Italy. Despite his success, Lamberto will always compared to his father and for me Lamberto Bava has always been hit or miss and A Blade in the Dark in my opinion is not only his best film, but also one of the very best Giallos of the 80s; A Blade in the Dark is one of those movies that there is this potential for greatness and while it doesn’t fully reach that level, but again for me it’s one of the best Giallos of the 80s.
The screenplay was written by Elisa Briganti & Dardano Sacchetti and both writers should be fairly well-known to fans of Italian horror with Sacchetti being one of the more prolific writers in Italian horror in the 80s. Of all their scripts I think this might just be one of their best and the only script in my opinion they did a better job with was Lucio Fulci’s Zombie. While at times some of the dialogue can be a little silly it’s a well written mystery that is quite interesting and while it may not break any new ground in the Giallo is works well with some fairly interesting characters and an interesting twist at the end.
Director Lamberto Bava takes a few cues from his father and Dario Argento and delivers a mostly solid movie with some solid suspense and some good tension and handles the mystery aspect very well. The pacing is a bit sluggish in some areas, while I can’t say I was ever really bored the pacing can be quite slow at times. Some scenes did drag in spots and had the editing been a little tighter the pacing would have been a lot better. But there is a good sense of dread through the movie and the kill scenes are well-done with the 2nd murder being quite brutal.
A Blade in the Dark doesn’t feature a lot of death scenes as more is put on the mystery and I really liked the fact the movie focuses more on suspense rather than death scenes and while the 2nd death scene is rather brutal the gore level isn’t as high as one would expect for an Itlain horror film from the 80s. A lot of Giallos in the 80s were quite graphic and that was done probably to keep up with the American slasher films, but I really liked how the movie again doesn’t just focus on gore and Bava really does an excellent job with the death scenes.
Overall A Blade in the Dark is one of the better Giallos of the 80s and the movie features some strong writing and directing and really the only flaw is some scenes do slightly drag and at 109-minutes the movie might have been better off losing a few minutes, but despite that A Blade in the Dark is my favorite Lamberto Bava movies and again one of the better Giallos of the 80s.