There was a time when Italian filmmakers seemed to be dominating the horror genre. In the 70’s and 80’s, maestro directors like Lucio Fulci, Ruggero Deodato, Umberto Lenzi, and Dario Argento were cranking out film after film, each one being a hit with hardcore horror fans. As time passed, the stronghold that the Italians had on the genre seemed to diminish. I don’t know if there will ever be a resurgence of any kind in the way of Italian horror flicks, but it is nice to see a film pop up from the country every now and then. The latest is Lucas Pavetto’s The Perfect Husband… is it the solution we’ve been looking for, when searching for a way to resurrect the foreign horror market?
Nicola (Bret Roberts, May) and Viola (Gabriella Wright, Everly) travel to Nicola’s family cabin for a much-needed getaway. They hope to clear their minds and just relax, relieving themselves of any stress they are experiencing from a recent trauma. As the weekend progresses, however, jealousy and secrets between the couple begin to be too much and Nicola snaps. Viola now must fight for her life and escape from the madman who she calls her husband.
I managed to stay away from the synopsis of this one before viewing it, but with a title like “The Perfect Husband” and cover art displaying an axe-swinging lunatic, it was pretty safe to say I knew what I was getting into. The Perfect Husband starts off rather sluggish, welcoming viewers to a beautiful looking film that also happens to feature some mediocre acting. The unnatural and sometimes difficult-to-sit-through performances by Gabriella Wright and Bret Roberts, portraying our two main characters, didn’t do the film any favors in the way of pacing or overall enjoyment for the first two acts, sadly. Once the final 30 minutes or so had arrived, however, things quickly began heating up, making up for the slow pace the film had followed thus far.
Wright and Roberts didn’t really do anything for me in terms of acting like a married couple. Yes, the characters had been through some trauma and I felt terribly for them, but I couldn’t tell what was really going on between the two. It was obvious from the first few moments of the film that they were keeping secrets from each other, but they were still married after all. Had that not been stressed already, I’m not sure I would have been able to make that connection; during some conversations, they seemed to be complete strangers, not at all fond of each other one bit. It wasn’t until the pace quickened and things became more intense that these actors were able to really show their stuff. Thankfully, it made up for some of the more awkward on-screen moments just a little.
The final act of The Perfect Husband transformed the film completely. I don’t like to be one of those snobby gore-hounds that needs bloody carnage in every film to enjoy it, but I really don’t know if there would have been any other way of saving this one, otherwise. Once Nicola snaps and starts taking out his frustrations on an unsuspecting Viola, everything is turned up a notch. The level of violence shoots through the roof, with some stuff that even caused me to cringe. The practical effects are impressive and I became giddy when axes started swinging and fingers started getting chopped off.
The Perfect Husband may not be the film to start a resurgence in Italian horror, but it is a neat little entry into the genre, nonetheless. Writer and director, Lucas Pavetto, has done a nice job adapting his short film (of the same title) into a feature film. The acting could have been a tad bit better, but overall the film ended up being quite good. The twist ending, coming in at almost the very last second, also helped increase its final rating, as well.
I give The Perfect Husband 3.5 mood swings out of 5.