Introducing a documentary focused on the well-known horror director, writer, producer, actor, and composer Dario Argento. Today, many public figures would say Dario is like a painter or a musician in the film style. Dario’s films have always featured fantastic camera work and well-controlled storytelling. We instantly discover that Dario is also a man with many fears, one of which he admits is “film”, stating that it’s like a bride he must meet with fear of rejection, but as Dario explains, his films never rejected him.
In the present day, Dario Argento is trying to work on writing his new film, which he aims to complete by himself in a hotel. This is the same process he would often do in the past with his cult movies. Now, alone in a remote and peaceful location with some spare time, a crew was invited to shoot a documentary and discuss his past experiences in the cinema, including his first major hit, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, leading up to the current day.
Directed by Simone Scafadi, best known for Fulci For Fake and Eva Braun, here, the director tackles to present a deep dive into a man who is not strange in cinema. Not only does this film documentary include discussions from Dario Argento himself in the present, but also a wide range of other celebrities, which includes Fiore Argento, Floriana Argento, Marisa Casale, Guillermo Del Toro, Nicolas Winding Refn and many more. Dario Argento Panico also takes audiences on a journey back to Dario’s early childhood days, the discovery of cinema and each film he worked on. Some in-depth films discussed with old footage include Deep Red, Inferno, Opera, Suspiria and Tenebre.
Confession time: I am a movie lover but have yet to experience many films from this director. For multiple reasons, his movies are not easy to obtain via physical media, and I am genuinely scared to watch his movies based on what I know. However, this documentary only encourages me to make haste and find a way.
Overall, those who have experienced what Dario Argento is capable of in cinema will find this documentary extremely informative. This includes informative details about his childhood upbringing and learning about photography, makeup, and how to make a woman beautiful in front of a camera. I also enjoyed hearing about Dario’s inspirations and passion surrounding the musical scores and the success he achieved with experiential and electronic music. Regarding Dario’s family, many key details are also laid out on the table, with very little hidden from audiences and interviews featuring well-known celebrities such as Guillermo del Toro and Nicolas Winding Refn is a treat. The pacing for the entire feature is pleasing, but there is disengagement during the film’s third act. This could be due to the film’s pacing or discussions within Dario’s family, which are essential and touching. However, crossing this finish line in the end feels somewhat exhausting and less exciting.
Dario Argento Panico (2023) is now available exclusively on Shudder!