Don’t Look Now (1973)

A psychic thriller starring Donald Sutherland, and a very lovely looking Julie Christie makes it’s appearance in the 101 Horror Movies.

Though the last moments are a little creepy, and the ending of Blair Witch could be seen as an homage of sorts, this film tends to fall more on the poetic side than scary.

Sutherland and Christie play the Baxters, who in the opening minutes of the film lose their daughter when the child drowns. We flash forward a couple of months and the couple are now in Venice, having left their surviving young son in a private school in England.

John Baxter is there to refurbish and restore churches, and hopefully, along with his wife, get through the loss of their child.

Shortly after their arrival, Laura Baxter meets two elderly woman, one of them blind, and possibly psychic who tells the grieving mother that she can ‘see’ Christine, their daughter, sitting between the pained couple.

As Laura pursues this possibility more intently, John laughs her off, burying himself on his work, while all the time bodies of murdered women are being fished from the canals, and John is seeing his dead little girl running around Venice in the red raincoat she died in.

The film is connected by images and the color red, moving at a gentle pace to build the mood, and the growing confusion that begins to plague Sutherland. He sees his wife in Venice after she’s supposed to have flown back to England, he’s warned that he’s in danger if he stays, and there is the recurring image of the red coat flitting about Venice and in his memory.

As things start to come to a head in the final act of the film, it definitely gets creepier as Baxter leaves the two elderly women, and ends up in pursuit of the red jacketed figure, with Laura chasing him, trying to catch up.

As mentioned the reveal, which is out there to be spoiled if you wish, I won’t do it for you, culminates in a creepy moment, and a tragic ending for our characters.

Horror… not necessarily. Spooky… sure.

So let’s mark another one off the list, and the 70s just keep on truckin’.

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5 thoughts on “Don’t Look Now (1973)

  1. Film making at its very best, and one of the best British films ever. I think every aspect of the film is perfection – script, casting/acting, direction, cinematography, and that unforgettably haunting score. Wonderful!

    • I was really quite taken with it, the shot composition, the connecting images, and of course the prevalence of the color red.
      And I was doing fine until that last sequence with the red coat standing in the corner, something really creepy about that…

  2. I remember showing it to my wife and her friend with no warning of the content. They were totally engrossed. When we reached red coat in the corner scene, they screamed so loud and jumped so high off the sofa.

    • That’s brilliant!
      There is something truly disturbing about imagery of that sort. In fact here in TO we have a subway station that actually has pictures of the backs of peoples heads on the walls, it’s very creepy, none of them are looking at you, except for one baby looking over the shoulder of the mother… very disturbing. I don’t know who ok’d that subway decor!

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