Mario Bava is one of my favorite directors of horror. He has a very distinct style and visual elements that you do not see from many other modern directors. The use of camera angles, lighting, and atmosphere plays well to set up the finales of his movies, and that’s exactly what you get with the movie “Shock”. This is also known as “Beyond The Door 2”, and in the United States it is readily available through a variety of different arenas. This was released in 1977, and it was the last movie that Mario Bava directed before he died. That being said, it doesn’t feel like his last picture, but it’s definitely one creepy movie none the less.
In this movie, you are given a slow burn. There’s a kid that is a bit creepy, and a couple that are moving into a house. The wife has come back from a sanitarium, where she was locked up for 7 years after her husband commits suicide. As the story progresses, the kid starts getting the “Shining”, oh wait, wrong movie. But it’s similar, and things start to move around the house ala “Paranormal Activity”. As the movie progresses, Bava’s signature creep style comes full circle and you realize that perhaps the wife had more to do with her husband’s death than we are lead to believe. As the movie gets into a climax, things get really bloody, messy, and revealing.
Take equal parts from many horror epics, including “The Omen” and you have a movie that leads you down a line of a slow burning wick. It’s slow, but it pays off dividends at the end. In fact, “Shock” delivers one of the best endings in horror that I’ve seen in a long time. Everything builds to a high tension, a suspenseful push, that you start rooting for the wrong person. Right when you think you have this movie figured out, and you call for a zombie to show up, nope, much like Argento’s classics, things unravel and create finality.
Bava’s elemental, visceral sequences play so well with her emotional collapse that you really feel for her at one point. However, as the kid starts to showcase the true demise of his father, you start to realize that the villain is not whom you think, and that of course leads to a very climactic ending.
If you aren’t a big fan of Italian Horror, then you are not going to like this one. However, if you’re a fan of Bava already, then you know what to expect here, and will definitely love the slow burn feel of the movie. It’s not extreme, but it certainly lends itself well to a lot of other extreme movies. I love the way things turn out in this thrilling horror movie. Take it for a ride and see why Bava is celebrated as one of the pioneers of horror cinema. Buy “Shock” here, and see what this is all about.
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