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Review Schizoid (1980): Very close and decent enough if you keep the expectations in check!

genre: thriller, giallo

Before we get into the review I have to explain myself of why I branded this a giallo while technically it is not. Schizoid is much more like a giallo then it is a slasher. The way the killer is presented and how the film is filled with red herrings. Only some essential elements are missing to make it truly stand out as one. 

While I really appreciate the effort of David Paulsen he was unable to convince enough. For one thing the pace of this little film was excruciatingly slow. Which would not have been an issue had the film had some good buildup of tension and suspense. And this is where the film makes it's biggest mistake. Most of the time the killings don't affect the characters. They are unaware of them and therefore rarely feel threatened or terrified. Main character Julie played by Marianna Hill only is a little bothered by a stalker who is sending her messages but not to the extent that she is careful or truly scared. Now I guess Paulsen tried to create some tension by only making the audience aware of the killer and who it might be and keeping his characters oblivious. But that only works if you show some form of dread or brutality. The killings are quite tame and are over before you know it. Then when the police finally find the bodies they hardly show any interest in them claiming that it's just one of many. I don't really mind movies showing how incompetent police can be. You still have to give me a good reason in order to convince me why they are overlooking the most obvious. At one point it is very clear where they should dig deeper and then say they have too much on their plate and can't be bothered with it. As if Paulsen wanted to make some critical statement concerning the police. Again I don't mind that but the result is that it makes this film very average and very boring. Schizoid could have benefited richly from the weird Klaus Kinski and the way his Pieter Fales is interacting with his cliĆ«nts. Or show us more of the strange relationship he is having with his daughter. 

Schizoid is screaming for excess of any kind but Paulsen fails to go the extra mile and go over the top where it is needed. And this is a real shame because honestly I was rooting for Schizoid. It was very close to being the type of giallo I love. I can't tell you how much I am craving for a good old whodunit where they aren't afraid of showing us some skin and violence. It is very gratifying to be put on a thrilling journey where were are exposed to the most vicious and wicked acts and then to see the evil doer get caught. 

So is this a waste of your time? Actually no. Even with all it's flaws there is still something that makes me like this a little. I think it is always compelling to watch Klaus Kinski because also in this one you can't the escape the mystery that surrounds him.

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