Inferno - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Inferno Reviews

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August 1, 2016
After the surprise hit that "Suspiria" was for Dario Argento´s career he decided to make it the first chapter of a trilogy thus his next film would the next installment: "Inferno". But unlike its 1977 predecessor ,"Inferno" didn't achieved the same level of praise, not to mention it underperformed, but even to this day it continues to polarize audiences. Is this film a worthy sequel for "Suspiria" or is it a disappointing continuation?

Rose Elliot is a young poet that lives alone in an old New York building. After reading a mysterious book called "The Three Mothers", which talks about the houses of three sisters that practice black magic, she believes that the building she lives in is one of those houses. But these speculations attract unwanted attention thus putting her life in danger.

Making a sequel to a critically acclaimed film is quite challenge and the result are mixed to say the least, let alone a sequel to a horror film, but as for the question I asked in the introduction I have to say that I can't go with either side as I agree with both of them. In the first 15 minutes you can see this isn't "Suspiria" level as the acting is just awful (not that "Suspiria" had fantastic acting to begin with but this film is even worse than B movie level), the score suffers a major downfall due to the absence of Goblin (thus half of the its predecessor´s power is gone), the story is just nonsensical (sure the last film didn't have a solid story but it mostly made sense, especially the reason for each murder. Here I just keep asking 'Why is this happening? ´) and it is unfocused as instead of being centered on a small horror story it is more preoccupied about stablish the fact that this is the middle ground of a trilogy (to the point of expending 15 minutes setting up the final chapter of the trilogy), the characters are even blander than last time (this is one of the dumbest and blandest horror protagonist I´ve ever seen), the unintentional comedy is expanded (I challenge you to not laugh at certain major scene involving cats), and it just goes to typical horror sequel cliché (a bigger body count, the deaths are more elaborated due to the bigger budget, many scenes from the first film are recreated and they change the gender of the main character). But regardless of its many flaws "Inferno" is still a solid film in Argento´s resume and is a worthy continuation to "Suspiria" thanks to Argento. If you know anything about horror or Dario´s films you know that plot/characters/acting are not a priority (finding a horror film that has quality in those aspects is like finding a diamond in the rough) but the atmosphere and directing are as they make the film scary or unnerving and that's where Argento shines. Unlike "Suspiria" this film returns to Argento´s Hitchcockian style, his vivid use of colors is as striking as last time, his camerawork continues to create a creepy atmosphere, the setting is just as gorgeously creepy as the Tanz Dance Academy, and while the score isn't as powerful as Goblin´s work it has its moments.

"Inferno" is by no means as good as "Suspiria" and it has major flaws that are expected from a horror sequel but regardless it is still a well-crafted film that has its moments. If you are looking for "Suspiria" quality then you will be disappointed but if you manage to look beyond its notorious problems then "Inferno" is an underrated Italian film that is undeniably more fun to watch than its predecessor (for better or worse).
April 15, 2016
Not as good as Suspiria, but still a great horror movie with a awesome Goblin soundtrack.
April 2, 2016
It would have been almost perfect were the characters not so completely clueless and prone to non-sensical decisions, which in itself was good at either propulsing the story forward or making it really weird . I find it even better than suspiria, style wise. The story is blurry (''under the soles of your shoes''... No matter where you stand? And everyone is physically not agile to an hilarious degree) buts its intentional and befits it.
½ March 1, 2016
A mishmash of a story, delivered by wooden actors as they lurch from one elaborate set to another to be killed in an even more ludicrious manner than the victim before. But what sets! And what cinematography! Absolutely visually stunning in so many scenes!
½ February 18, 2016
Argento can be forgiven much as he is the director of Suspiria, but I do believe that Inferno is a bit too much sub-par compared to that movie. Yes, it looks great in the use of colour and sets (camera movement less interesting as in Suspiria), hence the 1.5 stars, but oh dear, everything else about it is just so extremely bad.
I don't mind the non-sensical plot, it gives the movie a dream like surreal quality, which is fine, but the acting and dialogue are so extremely bad, it very much prevents me from getting invested in the movie. This causes you to just hop from one murder to the next, completely uncaring of what happens to the victim as the character is so card board, you don't really give a damn what happens to him/her.
This is a failing of course in all of Argento's movies, the man doesn't seem to give a shit about acting, story, dialogue and really, which touches my final point, music as well.
Suspiria as far as this is concerened is of course the exception to this rule as it features the fantastic Goblin score which really complements the movie, but in this movie, the Keith Emerson music (and I used to be a huge fan of ELP) is completely not complementing what you see in the movie, it completely takes you out of it and destorys any last chance you might have had of giving a shit about the proceedings, let alone that the music in and of itself is not exactly well written.
It actually made me angry, because it kept distracting me from the movie and ruined any chance of enjoying it or feeling anything remotely related to fear, anxiety or whatever the director intended.
It was only later even to be surpassed by Phenomena where the Heavy Metal score completely ruined the movie, which was a great shame, because there was a lot of good stuff in that movie.
½ February 16, 2016
If you look for movies that make sense, you might not like this one. And maybe you will, because it might make more sense than everything Argento's ever done. This overlooked, underrated movie is so magnificent in its mix of beauty, violence, supernatural and simple chaos that it might leave you confused or disappointed after the first time. If you learn to appreciate it, however, it will unveil as a visionary masterpiece.
Super Reviewer
January 27, 2016
Creepy and stylish but slightly lacking that Dario Argento flare. Gaillo is where his real strengths are and thankfully that's what he stuck to after this but Inferno does have some very memorable scenes - it's just a little bit dull in places.
½ October 8, 2015
A gorgeously shot Thriller or Giallo if you prefer by master of the genre Dario Argento, who was back then in top form and produced one of the most stylish, artistically daring and superb horror film i have ever seen. The deep red and blues of the color palette are priceless and the soundtrack adds to the dreamy atmosphere bordering fantastic and surrealism. Definitely a magnificent piece of Italian film making and a must see for anyone out there willing to take a class on the art of camera angles, tracking & dolly shots. Definitely a one of it's kind type of films.
October 6, 2015
Dario Argento, like Mario Bava, is better when he's working with the supernatural, not sexy psycho killers. Bava's a wunderkind when it comes to films like "Kill, Baby, Kill"; superiorly baroque atmosphere is much more interesting than the enthusiastic slaughters of "Bay of Blood". Argento is no different - giallo fans can lump him into the subgenre all they want with films like "The Bird with the Crystal Plumage" and "Four Flies on Grey Velvet", but he's at his prime when flirting with Douglas Sirk color and horrific incomprehensibility, as evidenced by his legendary Three Mothers trilogy ("Suspiria" (1977), "Inferno" (1980), and "The Mother of Tears" (2007)).
It's popular opinion by now that "Suspiria" is the greatest of the trio; with its gumdrop sweet Technicolor photography, explosively mounted bloodshed, and cacophonous soundtrack by prog-rock group The Goblins, it is, as I put it in my original review, "the closest thing the movies have ever come to capturing a nightmare on the screen". It is such a horror masterpiece that any sort of follow-up is destined to be proven as an underwhelming affair.
While it's true that its sequel, "Inferno", is inferior to its predecessor, there is no denying its mastery - if it weren't the work of Argento, it would be lauded as, yes, a horror masterpiece. But even for Argento, it's a minor masterpiece, more static than "Suspiria", more engrossed by its ambience.
It continues the story kicked off by its 1977 counterpart, which saw ancient witch Mater Suspiriorum terrorizing a spooky ballet studio in Freiburg, Germany. That film, of course, lead to her murder at the hands of naïve dance student Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper); "Inferno", in turn, switches its location to New York City, where Mater Tenebrarum (The Lady of Darkness) is said to reside. Though equipped with new characters, a slightly refreshed plot (a concerned Leigh McCloskey travels to the city to search for sister Irene Miracle after receiving a strange letter), and a different location (an elaborately designed hotel instead of an elaborately designed school), not much about "Inferno" deviates from "Suspiria". It's another case of labyrinthine stalk-and-slashes mystifying and nightmarish, more concerned with scary style than a plodding plot.
But what style! Reminiscent of the neon artifice of Fassbinder's "Lola" or Warren Beatty's "Dick Tracy", light exists only as a colored medium - naked bulbs are nowhere in sight, replaced by shadows and CinemaScope saturation distinctly fake but raucously sumptuous. Blues have the deep richness of cerulean salt, reds hypnotizing and devilish; a case of sore-eyed design, like a bookcase or a door, seems to be hiding something. In "Inferno", artful contrivance is reality - in a world where three witches use their sizable powers to manipulate the Earth, evil is more convincing than everyday life.
Which is why "Suspiria" and "Inferno" so easily creep under the skin; the villains on the prowl are so knowing, so far beyond regular menace that their very threat looms over every individual shot. There's never a moment we can exhale in relief - it's as though they're always watching, waiting to kill us off in a bafflingly complex way after changing their minds for someone else. An inexplicable evil is always much more disturbing in a horror movie than an analyzed Norman Bates type - we don't want to be left in the know. It would mare the malevolence.
The biggest shock of all, though, is "Inferno"'s peculiar lack of gore. Whereas "Supiria" was a carousel of gruesome effects, "Inferno" is more intent on suspense, drawing out its kill-offs to near unbearable lengths. I loved how eccentric each death is - consider that one ready-to-be-dropped fly is eaten alive by rats, only to be stabbed by a nearby hot dog vendor possibly possessed by Mater Tenebrarum herself, with another girl chased and later attacked by a never revealed foe with a set of hands evocative of a centuries old warlock. Nothing in "Inferno" really makes sense, and that's precisely the point. If it weren't for the sudden, final ending, it would be an endless loop of nightmarish imagery. It's "Suspiria" minus the orotund butchery, which is still, if I may say so, pretty remarkable.
August 27, 2015
After the success of 1977's Supiria director Dario Argento decided he would make a trilogy based around witchcraft. This was the birth of Inferno, a themeatic sequel, which can also be viewed as a stand alone feature. Inferno was a flop in the US market, mainly due to the fact it wasn't released theatrically. After the worldwide popularity of Suspiria, Fox approached Argento showing interest in helping to produce a sequel. This was the start of director Argento's problems. First of all the film had to be cast in LA, then there was the lack of acting talent available, Fox wanted to make this cheaply. When the final cut was ready, the head of Fox didn't like it & felt it was too strong for the American market, it was released on VHS in the US. The film itself however uses excellent cinematography, vivid colours, & the music (when present) works extremely well. Where the film fails sadly is the complex plot isn't fleshed out fully (unlike it's predecessor), the acting talent isn't there and the music (this time composed by Emerson from prog rock band, Emmerson,Lake & Palmer), his score isn't as heavy as those done by Italian prog rock group, Goblin, but it's extremely unnerving when present. The music isn't is featured as much either, making some of the death scenes overdrawn and boring. The finished product however is a great, and enjoyable euro horrornfrom Argento's glory days as the master of European horror.
½ August 8, 2015
to be completely honest this is my favorite out of the three mothers trilogy because it is so unique and scary and it has a certain vibe to it that gave me the chills I really love the music. the music in this movie is my favorite out of Dario argentos movies soundtrack.
August 2, 2015
Italian supernatural horror from genre great Dario Argento.
The film is the second in his three mothers trilogy.
Basically a New Yorker buys an old creepy book called The Three Mothers.
From reading this she suspects that her old apartment block is the locale in the book.
Quell murder (gruesome) and destruction ending with an Inferno.
The New Yorker disappears in the chaos that ensues but not after calling on the assistance of her music student brother from Rome.
He also becomes entangled in the affair culminating in discoveries in the basement and underneath the apartment block.
Argento uses clever use of colours, camera angles and music to add to the suspense but the film lacks the quality of previous entry in the series Suspiria which was made three years prior and which I have watched but not reviewed.
½ April 13, 2015
Hey Flixster, that synopsis is for some direct-to-video movie from the late 1990s with Ray Liotta and Gloria Reuben not for the film Italian Horror director Dario Argento made in 1980! This was the second film in "The Three Mothers" trilogy which started with Suspiria. If you liked Suspiria then you will like this film. Argento is an acquired taste. This film is surreal with lots of red and blue lighting and inventive murders. Mark Elliot (Leigh McCloskey) travels from Rome to New York at the behest of his sister but discovers her missing when he arrives in her mysterious apartment complex. Our protagonist uncovers a dream-like landscape of hallucinogenic horror and could easily lose his sanity, his life, or both. The soundtrack was not provided by Argento's usual musical collaborators, the Italian Progressiv Rock band Goblin but was orchestrated by Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake & Palmer fame.
January 6, 2015
The film was a disappointment to me. The film follows various tenants of an apartment building that was built for one of three witches (or "mothers" as they're called here).That premise makes the film seem like it would be a perfect haunted house style thriller which lots of mysterious frights happening. That may of been the plan but unfortunately all Argento can come up with in regards to spookiness is slasher style scares. I'm not exaggerating, the majority of the movie forgets it's a haunted house film all together and turns into a generic slasher film, complete with villains seemingly unrelated to the general premise at hand. When it does get back to the business regarding the supernatural everything there is great, but that's like ten minutes of the movie total. It looks great and the lighting adds a definite spooky element, but the fact that Inferno is, for the most part, a generic slasher, leaves the setting looking and feeling kinda silly.

I'm also going to have to agree on the lack of clear motivations for the characters here, the general plot line involves characters searching for three keys for ill defined reason The witches purposes are never adequately explained, and the whole thing is just a mess really.

If I were you I'd avoid this title.
½ November 19, 2014
Higher on suspense than gore, but the mystery that the various protagonists are trying to unravel feels just that for the audience as it's not the clearest of story lines to follow.
October 25, 2014
The atmosphere and sets are absolutely divine!
½ September 16, 2014
Please note: the "Movie Info" and the trailer on this page are not correct - they are about "Pilgrim" (2000) - not about Argento's "Inferno" (1980)!
½ August 14, 2014
INFERNO is a textbook Dario Argento picture: the bright colors, the inventive murders that are simultaneously brutal and beautiful, the protagonist wrapped up in some kind of bizarre, diabolical mystery... Argento's favorite elements are here in force, but even so, INFERNO feels like lesser Argento, mostly because the character motivations are rather sketchy, and because the exposition and plot mechanics are incredibly clunky. There's a lot of set-up required for the rather convoluted, arcane mythology that's behind the dark forces at work in the story, but the handling of this (necessary) information is heavy-handed, to be charitable. Still, Argento's flair for stylish, macabre goings-on is fully on display, which makes the movie worth a look, even if he did it far better in several other movies.
July 14, 2014
how long does it take for a woman to pick up her keys she just dropped? an eternity apparently in argento world.
May 4, 2014
Once again Dario Argento delivered another beautifully looking movie, with all those vibrant colors and imagery. As well as some very suspenseful and pleasing deaths, but somewhat the whole storyline seemed very thin and not enough consistent. Also, the ending was once again just there, I'm now starting to notice that this is his style, but it still bothers me to not an "ending." I still liked it, but it was those little things that added up and it made me not enjoy it as much as I wanted. And special mention to the scene underwater which was one of the highlights of the movie, and just breathtaking.
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