Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Director Luigi Cecinelli’s film ‘Visions’ opens with the character of FBI profile analyst Dr. Leeman showing up at the latest crime scene of the wicked serial killer known as The Spider. This so-called Spider is one mean dude for as we witness his rather macabre death setup for his victims he has three people all strung via suspension wire with hooks and pulleys running all through these victims bodies, akin to that of a spider’s web. The FBI assault team is on the scene waiting for Dr. Leeman to give them some guidance on how to free these people and save their lives in some way, but alas Dr. Leeman is fairly useless as he offers no suggestions only dire warnings. I could do that and I have no medical degree. The squad leader makes an executive decision to free these unfortunate souls and it will be last decision he, his squad and these poor victims will ever have to make.

Fast forward a bit where Dr. Leeman has retired from the FBI game and now runs a psychiatric ward for a local hospital. He has recently received a patient who has suffered a rather horrific car accident named Matthew who he is attempting to assist in recovering his memories. Across town there is a hard working journalist named Hope who hasn’t given up on searching for The Spider as she attempts to interview a few of his victims who somehow managed to survive The Spider’s assault, albeit with some horrific physical and emotional scars.

But back to Matthew, at the hospital Matthew runs into a fellow patient named Nick who happens to be running a dice game on some of his fellow loons and somehow Matthew is able to call out the next rolls a number of times in a row. It’s like he’s psychic or something. What Matthew really wants to know is who he is and where he comes from and Nick, who seems to have a free run of the hospital, wants to help Matthew get this info but instead Nick stumbles onto the secret files of Dr. Leeman and his Case of the Spider, including a video tape which he shows Matthew which really ignites Matthew’s latent psychic ability. Matthew seems to ‘see’ things in his mind and is curious about this Spider character which leads him, via the Internet, to Hope the Reporter who is deep into investigating this case.

So Matthew, with Nick’s help, meets up with the reporter and the trio set about attempting to take advantage of Matthew’s psychic ability, all with out Dr. Leeman’s knowledge because the doc would not approve. Eventually our trio will have to pull the Doctor in on this little adventure because it is becoming quite clear that Matthew is the key to finally tracking down and catching this vicious killer, a killer who may be a little to close for comfort.

So in the style of Italian masters Argento and Bava, director Cecinelli brings us his interpretation of the Giallo genre with ‘Visions’ and what we have here with Cecinelli’s film is a slow moving tome in desperate need of some compression but one that also has a very interesting story embedded within its length, highlighted by the use of some impressive visual effects.

One of the good things about ‘Visions’ is that Cecinelli plays the hand dealt to him by screenwriter Andrea Dal Monte with a good amount of clever skill. As the film plays out you do have some idea about what might be going on underneath our characters, and I think if you watch this movie you will have a pretty good idea of the final ‘twist’ as it were, but it is played out in such a way that it does keep you off balance just enough so that when the Big Reveal is exposed to us it has just enough surprise in it, within what we already suppose to be true, to deliver a pretty good jolt. There are elements in the story, while the film is playing out, that you question why the character don’t simply do this or do that, but when we are exposed to final conclusion then these character actions do make a heckuva lot more sense. In addition to the solid story elements there were some impressive visual effects such as the impressive opening sequence showing the work of the spider, some impressive effects displaying the physical consequences of Matthew’s psychic abilities, with one of these sequences showing a very nicely done plummeting lift sequence, and yet another impressive closing sequence showing more of the Spider’s macabre handiwork.

There are issues in this film with one being that this was an Italian film directed by an Italian director guiding English speaking actors and I believe there may have been a disconnect there as some of the performances by the cast felt a little off, because I don’t think the director and the actors were on the same page a lot of the time. This may also explain the somewhat meandering nature of the film in that there were long stretches in which it didn’t feel as if much of anything of any relevance was going on at the time, which led to the pace of the film being far more staid and languishing more than I think it should have. And of course this being the type of movie that this is, if you spend a little more time than necessary breaking down the twist elements and the occasional inconsistencies within these elements it will reveal more than a few flaws in the narrative, but we are not going to do that and just simply accept it for what it is.

‘Visions’ is an interesting movie but I don’t think it’s something that qualifies to pass as a ‘good’ movie due to the inconsistencies in the performances of the actors and a pace that seems far slower than the subject matter dictates it to be. It does have some interesting elements to it which make it worth taking a look at, but the final result comes up slightly short of the mark.

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