31 Days of Hell: Francesca (2016) - Reviewed

Far from left field comes a giallo horror tribute called Francesca, a strange and surreal feature that treads a fine line between greatness and bizarro silliness. Unearthed Films releases the movie this month in a blu-ray collector's edition that's got great bang for the buck. Using retro looking artwork, the packaging alone is worth the purchase. It's a self enclosed piece of pop culture art. 

With a story that sometimes lacks focus, some may have a hard time with the slow flow of the flick. However, this thing is a love note to an earlier era and the people behind it do a bang up job recreating the blood soaked vibe and the dirty tones of Italian cinema. Hitting on all the points that a great giallo film would emphasize, there is mystery, hack and slash horror, pornographic hints of eroticism, and a criminal underbelly all lead by the unsolved case of a missing girl. With a crazed opening sequence, the setup is all there for a mild cult classic. 

This short motion picture is a virtual time machine that will convince you it was filmed 40 years ago. It's brutal at times, slow at others, and altogether a fun 80 minutes spent with old school editing, gradient looking environments, and some really cool lighting effects. Using a grainy film stock feel and a gross looking color job, it hits some high points but is altogether a bit confusing. Yet, fans of this genre will relish in the highlights and won't be bothered by the director's shortcomings in offering a succinct story. Visually, Francesca is murky at times but highly skilled and dialed in at others. 

Paying well deserved respect for the films it tries to emulate, the movie arrives in time for Halloween in a great 3 disc package including a blu-ray, a dvd, and the movie's excellent score. The entire set is really nice and is a definite must for horror collectors and those that gravitate towards dynamic cinematic entries. This isn't your typical horror fare. If you're not bothered by a story that's a bit hard to follow, you'll have a great time with this one, especially if you're a fan of giallo films. 

While I'm not gonna go super high on my score for the movie as a whole, the packaging, the music, and the experience are definitely worthy of a purchase. Check it out.