Paolo Fazzini’s 2009 psychological thriller, “Mad In Italy” , is the story of a budding serial killer, who takes a young lady from a prominent family in the neighboring town, and holds her captive. The film examines the the young girl’s plight as she faces a very human terror, and fights for survival. “Mad In Italy” stars Eleonora Bolla, Giovanni Maria Buzzatti, Andrea De Bruyn, and Philippe Guastella. It is a dark, contemporary story told in a haunting giallo style.
The story is based on true events, yet imagines the horror that may have unfolded in absence of actual evidence. The body was never found and the killer never caught. “Mad In Italy” brings to life a serial killer protected by members of the very community he terrorizes in the Italian countryside. It is a stark, menacing prose that unfolds in a enthralling and chilling narrative. The characters are only partially developed, but instead of seeming unfinished, they display a hollowness that must exist in such cold, sinister people. The emptiness present in the characters echo the despair of film’s setting- a country in economic collapse, and a people facing ever growing hardship and struggle.
Fazzini brings a blend of verite and giallo together in blunt, disturbing resonance. “Mad In Italy” creates a dark, malevolence to the mundane side of life, where harsh circumstances can create harsh personalities. The cast manages to bring a measured depth to the characters, while giving us some disconnect that allows authenticity to settle into the film’s intent. There is nice bit of neo-noir mixed into the “Mad In Italy” that keeps the film from falling too far into the surrealist style. Paolo Fazzini manages to use these various styles smoothly so that the film has a nice dramatic consistency during transitional moments between the different styles. There isn’t that choppy look that some directors present when blending different genres.
The special effects are more visual aspects to create atmosphere and enhance the thrilling context of the film. There is some gore, however it is minimal, and blunt. Most giallo over exaggerates the gruesome elements of Italian horror, playing up the brutality of kills, but “Mad In Italy” makes those moments a bit softer and matter-of-fact. They become just one part of a bigger story driven by more psychological effects. The color and cinematography effects common in giallo are still present in “Mad In Italy” which gives us the surreal elements that define the mood of the film, but they don’t define the whole film. The style is blended with a slight noir and the shaky, natural style of verite also. It all comes together nicely.
The soundtrack is what you would want and expect from a film like this, haunting-hypnotic-chilling. The atmosphere is as sinister as the material expressed in “Mad In Italy”. The only thing that may bother horror fans is the amount of time between the horror elements found in the kill sequences and the dramatic portions that bring to life the psychological and suspenseful. Overall, I found “Mad In Italy” mesmerizing, and entertaining but I was irritated somewhat by the more subdued and minimalist approach to the gore and kill scenes. I thought they could have been a bit more theatrical and exploitative. Still this is a strong thriller from Paolo Fazzini that Italian horror fans should check out.