Sunday, August 12, 2012
Luigi Cozzi’s The Dark is Death’s Friend, reviewed by Travis Hedge Coke
The most haunting and disturbing use of “I love you.” When I sat to watch The Dark is Death’s Friend (also known as The Killer Must Kill Again) I was not expecting that. I admit, I suspected from what I knew of this film, hearsay and reviews, that I anticipated a one-off, something to watch once and never again (unless it’s the only thing available at three in the morning someday). A giallo film, an Italian mix of crime story, horror, and psychological thriller, it’s simple premise is that a man pays someone to murder his wife and everything goes horribly wrong, as is often the phrasing. We have all seen similar setups, some good, many inane, I’m sure.
I found myself unexpectedly immersed a movie swinging simultaneous tones of off the cuff and meditative, not so much lurid as frustratingly stained. The moral stain in The Dark is Death’s Friend is the sort that, the more cleaner you add, the harder you rub it, the deeper the damage is revealed. The movie’s lack of blatant moral inflection, of characters questioning their sacred cows of criminality or cruelty, means that as audience, we must judge and judge distantly. When immersed, as the movie plays, we experience not judgment but life, or motion and life, which are sometimes different things. The Dark is Death’s Friend is a machine as much as a narrative. It is driving, mechanical, purposeful.