(4 out of 5 stars)
"An innocent girl gets a date with the boy she likes- only to find it was a joke. An accident sends her into a coma. The people responsible go to a girl's school, where a girl is possessed to take revenge on the perpetrators. The ending just kinda leaves you hanging. A pretty decent horror flick, but this is mainly for diehard Lucio Fulci fans. The story is a spinoff on Carrie in that it is a revenge film, but otherwise has no resemblance. However, it lacks the excessive gore that charcterise his most poular works: Zombie, Gates of Hell, The Beyond, House by the Cemetery, and New York Ripper. Still worth a look though."
Not Fulci's worst, but very close
Dave. K | Staten Island, Ny | 03/16/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
** Out of 5
Release Date- August 15th, 1988 (Italy)
Running Time- 85-Minutes
Screenplay- Lucio Fulci & Giorgio Mariuzzo
Director- Lucio Fulci
Starring- Lara Naszinsky, Jared Martin, Ulli Reinthaler, Milijana Zirojevic, Dusica Zegarac
In general it seems as most filmmakers get older they start to decline and Lucio Fulci had one of the biggest declines of any filmmaker. Earlier in his career Lucio Fulci made some serious and smart films like Don't Torture a Duckling and Seven Notes in Black and with those two movies Fulci proved he could make a film as good as if not better than any other horror filmmaker. But the problem was nobody was really seeing these movies; it wasn't until 1979 with Zombi 2 that Fulci became a power player in the horror genre. And while Zombi 2 is noted for its gore F/X with good reason the movie like his earlier work is filled with suspense and tension and that is what most people overlook about Lucio Fulci.
Once the 80s started Fulci was now a splatter director where his movies were often incoherent, but what they lacked in plot they made up for in gore F/X and thus the title of the Godfather of Gore was born. But to Fulci's credit even his splatter flicks had some decent suspense and often had a lack of pending doom. Granted his splatter flicks weren't as good as his earlier work, but finally Fulci was getting his due. But after the release of The New York Ripper, Fulci seemed to lose his edge. The decline started and it was a rather big drop off.
To be totally honest anything after The New York Ripper I don't really like with the exception of Zombi 3 simply for the so bad its good vibe it has going for it. Aenigma may not be the worst movie in Fulci's career, but one can possibly make a case for it. About the only positive thing I can say about Aenigma is it does feel like a Fulci flick something a lot of his later flicks lacked. But even though it felt like a Fulci flick it wasn't a very good one. Aenigma has often been compared to Suspiria and Carrie, but this movie never ever reaches the level of greatness.
The screenplay by Lucio Fulci & Giorgio Mariuzzo is rather terrible; granted Fulci's splatter flicks often weren't very well written, but yet they worked despite that. But the characters in Aenigma are the typical faceless victims who quite honestly are better off dead. They are really annoying and totally unlikable. The plot is a total mess, while the idea isn't a bad a girl in a coma takes over the body of another to get revenge for the accident that left her in a coma. Problem is nothing is really explained and we get useless scene after useless scene.
As director Fulci doesn't fair any better; each scene is poorly set up with zero suspense and no real sense of pacing. While Aenigma isn't poorly made in general it is a sloppy film. The 80s was the splatter era for Fulci and with Aenigma he strayed from that. This movie features very little gore and this movie really needed that. While gore wouldn't have made this movie great or anything at least it would provide something. By this time in Fulci's career he clearly wasn't the same filmmaker and the decline in his movies seriously for me rates as the biggest drop off.
Like I stated earlier in my review Lucio Fulci really was a lot better of a filmmaker than he got credit for. Don't Torture a Duckling is easily one of the greatest Giallos ever made and Seven Notes in Black also serves as an excellent Giallo. Some people see Fulci as nothing more than a hack who can only deliver a gore movie. I urge those who think that to give the two movies I mentioned a chance and you'll see there's a lot more to Fulci. I also though did like his splatter flicks and while these movies weren't as well done as his earlier ones they were still great fun, but anything after 1982 in general was really bad even with gore scenes.
I really can't think of many good things to say about Aenigma; simply put this is just a poor movie. I'd only recommend this to the hardcore Fulci fans like myself and I'm willing to bet most won't like it. Aenigma is made by a director far past his prime. There's no gore and no suspense and tension. Skip this one and go back and view Fulci's work in the 70s and early 80s."
Dave. K | 10/01/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The movie itself would have deserved between 3 and 4 stars.
It is a fairly well directed version of the "Carrie" story.
Its blue tone and setting in a girl's boarding school are
reminiscent of Dario Argento's "Phenomena". It features some
macabre and bizarre deaths in the Fulci style.Image's release is, unfortunately, rather meager ....
On the positive side, there is the transfer. Apart from occasional variations in color, it is sharp and colorful.
The first disappointment is the sound. Only a poor, monaural
english track is featured. No subtitles at all. This is
complemented by the total absence of bonus material. There are not even any interesting liner notes. ....If "Aenigma" is the last item missing in your Fulci collection,
you may wish to go for this release, otherwise I recommend you
to check out some of the more interesting releases of Fulci
Confusing and derivative
A. Griffiths | London | 01/15/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"One of Fulci's lesser efforts, Aenigma is a blatant [copy] of so many other films, it's hard to count them all. Set in a school, it involves a misunderstood loner called Kathy who is cruelly taunted by her classmates, but takes revenge by means of psychic powers. So far, so "Carrie". But here, the cruel prank puts the victim into a coma, and it's from here that she wreaks havoc, which echoes "Patrick". She somehow manages to possess another student, who goes through the school leaving a trail of destruction and death on Kathy's behalf. Sounds great for Fulci fans, but don't hold your breath. The various revenge murders are all very unimpressive and often ridiculous, including a death by being scared of a museum and death by being confronted with a boyfriend's corpse! What's wrong with these people!? The film has no highlights of gore whatsoever, which is a major shortcoming in a Fulci film. Even it's set piece murder, a "death by snails" sequence will probably leave you laughing (how exactly do snails manage to overpower someone??). This, along with the film's title, makes me think that Fulci is actually trying to emulate Argento's far superior "Phenomeona". The film is generally pretty confusing, as Kathy's power, and her hold over the possessed girl are never properly explained. The acting is awful, the lead character (the possessed student) wanders around looking totally bored, so you won't really care about any of the characters. It's also ugly and dull to look at, even though Fulci tries to ape Argento yet again by bathing many shots in lurid coloured lighting, mostly a tiresome bright blue, but it just doesn't add up to anything coherent. Even Fulci completists could rest easy without ever watching this one.
A real stinker."