The House With Laughing Windows is an atmospheric giallo directed by Pupi Avati. The plot concerns a man who is hired to restore an antiquated fresco in a dilapidated church. The painting depicts the brutal death of St. Sebastian. After going through a series of harrowing events, our lead learns that the morbid work of art may have been a living portrait of a murder taking place before the artist's eyes. A cool premise, to be sure. This would be a spectacular horror film if it wasn't so damn quirky and European. It certainly makes for a gripping mystery, but there are hiccups along the way that mar the finished product.
For one, the characters make irrational decisions and tear through mood swings that come out of nowhere. Lino Capolicchio gives a decent performance as the frazzled Stefano, but a lot of his dialogue doesn't fit his perceived personality. In one scene, he snaps and lashes out at his girlfriend. That sounds perfectly normal, but it doesn't gel with his character arc. I did like Francesca Marciano as the damsel in distress. I have a thing for Italian chicks. A big thing. Her expressive eyes do her acting for her, although she doesn't have much to work with in the depth department.
The cinematography glints with a lambent intensity. Avati knows how to capture sunlight. The darker scenes are also filmed well, and that includes the disturbing ending. Unfortunately, the closing frames don't make much sense. It's one hell of a head-scratcher. All in all, The House With Laughing Windows is a mixed bag. I enjoyed watching it, but no one can deny its inherent flaws. We'll always have Italian chicks...
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 7:20 PM