Phenomena (1985)

Phenomena_1

AKA: Creepers

The daughter of a famous actor is sent off to a boarding school in remote Swiss city. While there Donald Pleasance informs her that she has psychic insect powers that enable her to communicate with the creepy crawlies of the world and she uses these powers to pursue a local serial killer who is slaughtering young woman in and around the school.

Phenomena_2
I’m sorry, you want me to do what now? That doesn’t seem fun.

I hope that made sense to everyone, because the parts I left out about the heretic chasing head of the school, the chimp nurse, the sleep walking and the mutants, probably won’t make it any more coherent.

Phenomena_3
Yes, the chimp is a nurse. No, I’m not sure how that happened. Or why anyone thought it was a good idea.

So yes, the movie is a little crazy (or maybe a lot crazy and I’m severely desensitized), but I promise it makes more sense if you actually watch it. I swear, despite everything going on (both in the film and in the last couple sentences) the movie comes across as well balanced and polished.

Phenomena_4
Well, mostly polished.

The acting is above average (yes, even the chimps) and despite being an Italian horror film (curtesy of Mr.  Argento), it was mostly recorded completely in English, so you don’t have to worry about any shoddy dubbing or any subtitles, for those of you who hate reading. Yay!

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Celebratory sharp objects for everyone!

My biggest problem with the movie, honestly, is the soundtrack. The choice of a metal soundtrack just does not work for me when layered over brooding imagery. I think the visuals and the pacing of the scenes themselves work great, but when you shove a death metal song over it, no matter how good said death metal may be, the contrast is so jarring that it takes you out of the moment entirely. My head literally jerked back a couple of times at the harsh sounds suddenly coming out of my speakers and there was such a disconnect with what I was hearing and was happening on screen much of the time that it took me several moments to get back into the film.

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But you know the complaints are small when the biggest one involves only part of the soundtrack. Overall, Phenomena is a fun film and the last 20 minutes or so are probably some of the most memorable moments to ever cap off a horror movie. You just have to try to tune out part of that soundtrack.

Phenomena is available on a variety of streaming services.

Phenomena is also available on DVD and Bluray.

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Michi

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