Dario Argento is an Italian director who is most known for his work in the horror genre, specifically the giallo 'slasher' films. Phenomena is one of his lesser known works, often forgotten behind his other films like Susperia and Tenebrae. I have watched his other films but came across this one on Amazon Prime so decided to give it a watch and these are my thoughts.
The plot focuses on a young girl Jennifer Corvino, played wonderfully by Jennifer Connelly, who attends a remote boarding school in Switzerland who discovers she has psychic powers that allow her to communicate with insects. She also discovers that there is a serial killer nearby who has been murdering and beheading young girls in and around the school and she must use her powers to stop him. She is assisted by Forensic Entomologist John McGregor, played wonderfully over the top by Donald Pleasence and his assistant the chimpanzee Inga.
As you can probably surmise from the brief blurb this is a pretty strange film but the whole thing is beautiful filmed and the location shots and Georgio Armani costumes are stunning. The plot moves at a good place and the climax is truly gruesome and gory... just what you expect from the Italian horror master.
The version of the filmrestores some of the footage from the severely cut 'Creepers,' which was what the American release of the film was called after it was edited and cut to pieces. Most of the gore and missing scenes are returned but there is a weird disconnect when the film lunges from English to Italian to English again. You can make out what is happening and it all adds to the surreal dream-like quality of the film but it is a little jarring.
Special mention must be made about the soundtrack which features Argento regulars Goblin, but surprisingly it also features rock legends Iron Maiden... not bad at all!
So is this film worth watching. I'd say if you are a horror film aficionado with a penchant for the weird and surreal then yes but for your more mainstream horror fan this might be a bit too weird, stick to your Final Destinations.