Alice Oscura – Featured Writer
The Binding is one of Netflix’s latest horror additions. It is an Italian production that takes place in the South of Italy. The language spoken is Italian but thanks to Netflix English and Spanish audio options are available. The film incorporates superstitions, curses and homemade remedies all set against the eerie backdrop of the panoramic landscape views of the Italian countryside.
The film starts off with Emma (Mia Maestro) and her daughter Sophia (Giulia Patrignani) going to visit her fiancé, Francesco’s (Riccardo Scamarico) mother. Their intention is to break the news of their engagement to her. Everything starts off innocently enough, until Emma starts noticing some pretty damn creepy goings-on at the old mansion. Weird prayers being whispered in dark corners and rooms, uprooted diseased trees, and a very suspicious soon to be mother in law. But, when something malevolent threatens to take Sophia away, Emma is forced to believe in the impossible in order to save her.
One of the main things that The Binding has got right is the intense, foreboding atmosphere that gets more than an extra push when you have the looming presence of a gigantic old manor house filled with lots of dark rooms and hallways, creaking floor boards and doors, and the occasional slamming of windows. It is awkward from the start because all of Francesco’s relatives behave rather strangely, and his normal easy-going demeanor suddenly changes as he also starts to act as though they are all harbouring a big secret. Now the story does evolve a bit slowly and it can become a bit dull at times, which is where the film falters.
However, I have to say that the saving grace comes mainly out of actress Mia Maestro’s performance as a mother whose maternal instincts are kicked into overdrive from the visibly anxious and uncomfortable feeling that she experiences, probably from the sinister element. The film loses points again for taking too long to reveal the back story and failure of developing the emotional turmoil that Francesco is meant to have for his past mistakes, which is what kind of upsets the whole apple cart so to speak. It does manage to touch on the fact that a parental love may not always come from a biological source as seen by the sweet, heart string-tugging relationship displayed between Francesco and Sophia.
It is not bad horror, but it also isn’t that great. There was great potential that was dampened by mismanagement in the timing and development of strategic plot points that could have given The Binding that foothold into the list of good Italian cinematic horror.
Alice’s Score: 6 out of 10
For a double dose of horror you can check out my Two-Fer review if Evil Eye and Nocturne by clicking here. And for more than 100 horror film reviews and lists you can check out our horror section here.
Dark Alice has an old soul and a curious mind. I believe that anyone can be a hero and that the good guys should always win! I dislike cruelty to animals and think that they have far superior qualities to humans. My motto is there is no future without the past. I also have a weird penchant for Paranormal TV shows even though the slightest sound makes me jump.
I enjoy writing reviews and throwing in fun facts to pique the readers’ curiosity. My ultimate goal in life would be to become a published writer one day. You can find me as Dark Alice Reviews on Facebook, my Instagram is alice_oscura and my Twitter handle is @lise_veliz2. For more on me you can click here.