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Review Trauma (1993): Underrated Dario Argento film!

genre: giallo, thriller, horror, mystery

Trauma for some reason is not appreciated as much as Argento's works prior to this one. Perhaps fans think it's to slick and Americanised. It's heavily flawed for sure. Still there are plenty trademark Argento elements present to deliver that giallo goodness. For me personally this is a favourite. I will explain why that is.

For starters the first time you watch this it's a very thrilling affair. There are just enough weird characters running around who could be the killer. That is if you watch it properly. Like with Deep Red there is a way to find out who the killer is from very early on. But if you want the best viewing experience I would advise against it. However on multiple viewings it remains solid also because of the elements described underneath.

A very big element is the romance between Aura (Asia Argento) and David Parsons (Christopher Rydell). David falls for the obviously troubled girl who is anorexic most likely because of trauma. Her character is inspired by Asia Argento's half-sister Anna, Daria Nicolodi's daughter from a previous marriage who was suffering from anorexia. Nicolodi was Dario Argento's wife from 1973 to 1985. Her daughter can be seen at the end of the film dancing to a reggae song. Unfortunately Anna died in a car accident a year later after this film was made. It's a good thing that attention is paid to this eating disorder. Aura is strangely loveable because she seems to be innocent and pure. At least that is how Asia portrayed that character. It's no wonder David would fall for her. And he got it real bad because he almost loses his sanity when Aura goes missing again. She tends to do that a lot in the film.  David is also a very likeable character since he tries to help Aura as much as she can. Long before he fell in love with her. The song Ruby Rain composed by Pino Donaggio is what really sells the romance since it is completely enchanting and hauntingly beautiful.

Another thing I liked was the young kid Gabriel who is very observant, determined and decisive. He is the one who doesn't hesitate and saves the day. His involvement seems like a play on Hitchcock's Rear Window and is something I can really appreciate. Everyone should have a neighbour like Gabriel. Because the world would be a much safer place then. James Russo as the cop could and should learn from him since he is completely worthless. He is always too late and comes after the fact instead of preventing the murders form happening. But cops usually are in giallo's so that is to be expected.

Last but not least is the motivation of the killer. You will never guess it. But it's one so shocking and tragic that you can understand where the killer is coming from. This feeling is enhanced by the acting of the actor in question since this person does a good job of showing a complete character who is deeply hurt and damaged. Deranged without a doubt but not cold blooded.

Overall Trauma is a pretty solid giallo and certainly a step up on for example Giallo (2009) with Adrien Brody.

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