My top-ten horror films #2

2 – DON’T LOOK NOW (1973)


Utterly devastating. Nicolas Roeg’s magnificent film (based on Daphne du Maurier’s short story) begins and end with tragedy, and contains clues and ambiguities and auguries in almost every scene.

Laura and  John Baxter (played by the excellent Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland) travel to Venice after the death of their daughter. Once there, Laura encounters two sisters, one blind but blessed (cursed?) with the gift of second sight. She can ‘see’ Christine, the Baxters’ dead child. Laura is thrilled, and comforted by this revelation but John is dismissive, despite possessing his own psychic abilities, a power that, to his detriment, he refuses to acknowledge. While the two leads try to come to terms with their loss, the city is gripped by panic; a serial killer is at large…

The emotions and tensions unravelling throughout this film are almost palpable.  Even now, having watched it countless times, I have to switch it off towards the end and have a break, steel myself for the punishing last chase through the wintry Venice labyrinth. An intelligent, powerful, heart-rending classic.


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