Don’t Look Now is an absurd nonsense of a film that did very little to suspend my disbelief. The British horror genre is abundant in grueling, gritty realism and gruesome endings that Hollywood couldn’t possibly replicate. But unfortunately unlike The Wickerman, Decent and 28 Days Later, Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now doesn’t carry on the torch, instead its boring monotony and void of any real tension smolders any chances of the audiences receiving a scare.
All parents seem to have a sixth sense for knowing when their child is in danger and its merely minutes between his daughter falling into a lake and John hurtling out of the house to her aid. However it is too late, she is dead and seeing John (Donald Sutherland, JFK and Ordinary People) pulling his daughter out of the water and cradling her lifeless corpse in his hands hoping for a miracle, is both gut wrenching and painful. The line between existence and nonexistence is far too thin.
But then the story takes a very bizarre turn when John and his wife Laura (Julie Christie, Darling and Doctor Zhivargo) post having their daughter die from drowning, decide to shove their other child in a boarding school, while they go gallivanting to Venice which is pretty much all water? Grief has the power to greatly change people, inflict unbearable pain and destroy relationships. Once in Venice grief and guilt propels John into becoming distant and reckless, while Laura becomes more emotionally needy and desperate to seek solace in a blind oracle who claims to be clairvoyant. The story takes on another macabre twist when John always at the corner of his eye begins to see a child clad in seemingly the same red coat that his daughter had on when she drowned; is she real or is his mind playing tricks on him?
The only stand out moment of the film is undoubtedly the opening sequence, which is probably my favourite horror film opening; it was macabre genius the way the fast cutting acted like a menacing metronome, slowing tick away towards something horrible. However despite such a great opening that promised so much, idyllic sceneries and a gallant performance from Donald; very little was done to appease a film that failed to creep, shock or terrify like a good horror film is supposed to do.