Hour of the Wolf

Always thought Ingmar Bergman would be a great horror filmmaker--there were moments in Wild Strawberries, Fanny and Alexander, and Cries and Whispers that were as terrifying as anything you see in the Halloween or Friday the 13th movies--maybe more terrifying, because Bergman knows how to use silence to great effect, something Craven or Carpenter isn't quite as good at.

Wanted to elevate Bergman's Hour of the Wolf to the pantheon, but it's disappointingly off. Not that it's not well made--it's brilliantly made, and there are scenes here that are extremely disturbing (who knew the simple act of standing behind someone can be so profoundly irritating as well as frightening?) but he's too--how to put it?--refined, too uncompromising to lower himself into really scaring the audience, to turn the screw tighter, at least for the last twenty minutes.

It's the problem I have with The Shining--the narrative is too convoluted, the revealed horrors too disappointing (in Bergman's case, part of the reason may be budget; in Kubrick's case it may be sheer perversity) compared to the dark promises and hints made near the beginning. Interesting exercises that aren't easy to dismiss, but maybe not the top-top shelf of horror classics.

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