Aenigma (1987)

aenigma poster 1987 review
4.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 4/10
Visuals: 5/10

Italian horror is at least different

Nothing special or unique about the movie

Movie Info

Movie Name: Aenigma

Studio: Movie Studio

Genre(s): Movie Genre

Release Date(s): Movie Release Date

MPAA Rating: Movie Rating

aenigma snails death

Escargot to the max!

The girls at St. Mary’s College don’t like Kathy (Milijana Zirojevic) much. When they play a trick on her with the help of the gym teacher (Riccardo Acerbi), a horrible accident occurs which leaves Kathy in a coma. Kathy may be unconscious, but she still wants revenge. Possessing a girl named Eva Gordon (Laura Naszinski), Kathy intends to get even with the girls who hurt her one way or another.

Directed by Lucio Fulci (who also helped write it with Giorgio Mariuzzo), Aenigma is an Italian horror slasher thriller. It was met with mixed to negative reviews.

Italian horror is a whole different monster than American horror. The gore is generally greater, the style is different, the themes are different, but the plots often feel derivative of other films (often times from other Italian movies). Fulci has a lot of interesting films that are kind of a blend of Italian and America, but Aenigma isn’t the best of them.

aenigma top gun poster girl

I’ve got the need for speed!

The story feels like you’ve seen it before (and seen a better version of it). The deaths are pretty juvenile (aka attack of the snails), but I do like things like the repeating rooms. Fulci cites Carrie as one of his influences, but the movie also echoes the fun (and weird) Phenomena which takes place at a girls’ school which seems to be a theme in Italian horror and giallos. I almost wish that the movie had taken a more of a giallo approach and incorporated a mystery aspect to the story.

The cast is rather bland. Dubbed performances always seem stodgier and are hard to connect to. Unlike Sissy Spacek’s performance in Carrie, you don’t get a chance to connect to Milijana Zirojevic before her accident and that could have helped justify her actions and humanize her. No one in the cast leaps out in their performance.

aenigma laura naszinski

Wait…I’m just getting used (and killed?)

I like the style of Italian horror simply because it is different than American horror. It seems like the most prevalent Italian horror was in the late ’70s and early ’80s, and it is interesting to see a late ’80s movie where the characters are living in America. Tom Cruise’s Top Gun poster plasters the wall, and it feels like some alternate version of America…which is kind of fun.

Aenigma feels off. It isn’t uncommon in foreign horror, but this outing the “offness” doesn’t feel as enjoyable as it hinders the story. If the story had been remarkable, completely bizarre, or even more shockingly violent, I feel Aenigma would at least feel more original. Instead if you look at this work in comparison with Fulci’s other films, you question how he went wrong with the movie.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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