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‘The Last Matinee’ review: Gory homage to giallo worth the price of admission

Fulci alert!

The Last Matinee is a slasher that keeps its entire story in one building. This is not unheard of in the genre, but has been seen less since the slashers of the 1980s made summer camps and dreams more popular settings. More specifically, someone in attendance at a movie theater is killing all the audience members. Ana, the theater’s projectionist, begins to notice something is odd, but is there anything she can do about it?

After a brief opening, the film moves to the theater where it remains until the final credits roll. The inside of the theater is brightly lit with neon signs. Everything pops off the screen and The Last Matinee even looks like it was put through a filter to make things more vivid. As the movie progresses, the giallo influence becomes more apparent. Blues and greens color the screen. The last act often sees the screen shaded in blood red. The killer is also a throwback to the days of Dario Argento and Mario Bava. An ominous figure stalks the theater in a black rain slicker as they methodically take care of the patrons. 

The Last Matinee also lives up to the over the top gore and violence of the Italian films it is paying homage to. There are some downright vicious kills in both the actual movie and in Frankenstein: Day of the Beast, the one being shown on screen. There is a mix of creative murders and straight up brutal killings. There is plenty of blood and eye trauma to be found. They are also varied enough to keep getting a reaction out of the audience.

The plot does a wonderful job of building up its many characters. Each one have their own story that gives the world of The Last Matinee a lived in feel. Which is why it is so surprising there is so little tension. Things progress from one graphic death to the next. This does not negatively impact the film, but it is very noticeable in an otherwise strong tribute to an influential genre.

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