This movie was screened at Panic Fest.

A woman is bound to a bed, screaming. We aren’t sure how she got there or why, but there’s a terror in her eyes. The unsettling opening scene sets the tone for the deeply disturbing “Tenebra,” from director Anto. This Italian thriller features highly traumatic subject matter that will rattle the nerves of even the most steadfast viewers.

Giulia (Tonia De Micco) and her four year old daughter have been locked up by a dangerous psychopath. Their only hope of being saved is by Marta (Elisa del Genio), a depressed girl who decided to commit suicide that morning, and a precocious little boy. The story is told through a series of flashbacks and memories, with darkly compelling backstories of the two women. The plot is simple, but the film is rich in story if not in premise.

It’s best not to read too much about the story, because the twists and turns in the narrative are what make it so shocking. This is a film that will keep viewers on their toes trying to guess where it will go next.

The script (co-written by Giovanni Cardillo, Toni Ersino, and Giuliano Fiocco) is thematically loaded with challenging conceptualizations of mental health, trauma, religion, family, and motherhood. It’s a thriller that’s both thoughtful and bloody, which makes it feel so unique and different.

Anto creates a great sense of palpable peril through his skilled direction, and the performances from the cast are proficient and effective. This is both a handsome looking and well acted film, despite it being really tough to watch.

“Tenebra” is dark and deep, and the chilling content will stay with you.

By: Louisa Moore

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s