The Film (3.5/5)
When I think of Umberto Lenzi's films, I think of cinema that is extremely violent, and pushes the boundaries of good taste. His most notable films include the prototype cannibal film the Man From Deep River, Nightmare City, and the infamous Cannibal Ferox. This film is totally unlike those films, for one is falls squarely into the giallo genre, and two the violence is mostly off screen.
Knife of Ice is one of 8 giallo's Lenzi directed throughout his career, and his final film with actress Carroll Baker. Knife of Ice tells the story of a woman named Martha(Carroll Baker) who was traumatized in her youth by the death of her parents in a train wreck. This incident has transformed Martha into a mute, who communicates using a series of clicks.
The film opens at a train station, as Martha awaits the arrival of her cousin Jenny(Ida Galli). Soon after her arrival she is found murdered in the garage of the house that Martha and her Uncle Ralph(George Rigaud) live. Jenny's death is of course, the first in a series of murders that grip the community, and take an additional toll on Martha's already fragile psyche.
Knife of Ice is a very traditional entry into the giallo genre. It does not break any new ground, and while the film is quite watchable, it brings nothing new to the table. The ending which I will not spoil for those who haven't seen it, is quite disappointing, and brings the film down another notch.
I will say there are some really interesting atmospheric moments, and a good bit of suspense throughout. Lenzi's direction is excellent for the most part, but I found his excessive use of the zoom a bit irritating at times. Overall, Knife of Ice is a flawed but interesting entry into the giallo genre.
MVD/WHAM USA! Have released Knife of Ice with a letterboxed widescreen transfer. The quality of the transfer is mixed. There are quite a few soft looking spots, especially in lighter scenes, and there is a good deal of grain and scratching throughout.
The audio is an enhanced English audio track. It is a dubbed track, and is at times quite noticeable. The actual quality of the audio is similarly mixed, dialogue is clear throughout, with a moderate amount of grain on the track. It is really nothing that takes away from the film.
MVD does not claim this disc to be a special edition, and it shows. The only extra on this disc is a slideshow of stills taken directly from the movie.
Knife of Ice is an interesting, but heavily flawed, entry into the giallo genre. I have heard that his other gialli such as Seven Blood Stained Orchids, and Orgasmo are much better, and may be worth checking out. Knife of Ice, however, is best left to giallo completists and no one else.