Directed by The Manetti Brothers
A distinctly “been there, done that” offering from Italian directors Antonio and Marco Manetti, Paura 3D follows Domenico Diele as young car mechanic Ale, who overhears a conversation between his boss and local nobleman Marchese Lanzi (Servillo), which reveals that the Marchese will be out of town for the weekend on a trip to Switzerland. As he is leaving one of his beloved cars for servicing while he is away, the Marchese entrusts his keys in the possession of Ale – including the keys to his luxurious villa.
Of course, Ale immediately takes this opportunity to call his friends Simone (Pedrotti) and Marco (Di Biagio) to arrange a party weekend at the Marchese’s home. They intend to get up there, enjoy themselves, and get out again before he returns from his trip… a victimless crime. Except these boneheads almost immediately forgo all restraint upon arrival and set about drinking champagne and eating caviar from the fridge before enjoying themselves in the pool, generally dicking about on the property, and finally settling down in the living room to drink, smoke pot, and play Guitar Hero on the Marchese’s impressive entertainment system.
While Ale and Marco twiddle their controllers upstairs, Simone heads down to investigate the basement. There, he discovers a secret, bolted door behind which incessant gibbering emanates. Simultaneously, car trouble sees the Marchese forced to abandon his trip and return home via taxi. As the boys attempt to evade detection, it becomes apparent that the Marchese has a girl held captive in the basement, and well… he’s just a bit of an all-round nutcase. From there, things degenerate into standard torture territory crossed with a slasher flick, featuring lots of stupid or misguided character decisions resulting in needless deaths as the Marchese sets about getting rid of his unwanted guests. Some gratuitous nudity and splashy violence cement the nature of the flick as a quick exercise in exploitation and not much more.
Visually, Paura 3D looks excellent. The basement environs are creepy and atmospheric, and for the most part the directors avoid the use of 3D gimmickry – rather, they commendably rely on it to provide extra layers of visual depth to the sets. The opening credits sequence is also a particularly striking piece of surreal animation that, unfortunately, is far more interesting than anything that comes after.
While the level of atmosphere is high, Paura 3D manages to stir up very little of its namesake (the title means Fear in Italian) save for a too little, too late twist leading to the finale that hints at a much more refined ability to generate scares than the directing duo serve up during the preceding runtime. Special note should go to the soundtrack, however, which, when not blaring black metal tracks, offers a seriously creepy Goblin-esque score that recalls some of Suspiria’s most skin-crawling audio manipulations.
2 out of 5