30 April 2017



THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1990) is a terrific, almost faultless horror film, but on reflection, I actually think I like the sequel, HANNIBAL, even more. Julianne Moore takes on the role of FBI Special Agent Clarice Starling, originally played by Jodie Foster. She might lack some of Foster's vulnerability but personally, I think she's even more watchable than her predecessor.

Any-hoo, plot-wise, ten years have passed since notorious killer Hannibal 'The Cannibal' Lecter escaped from custody. You'll remember that his insights into the behaviour of psychopathic serial killer 'Buffalo Bill,' so-called because he skinned his victims (lovely fella!), were sought by the FBI in the first film. Clarice Starling was the agent who liaised with him and she's never forgotten the way in which the deadly but desperately charismatic murderer got deep down under her skin.

Nothing much has changed between the two of them in the interim. Lecter has popped up once more in Florence, Italy, a city which of course would suit the cultured Lecter down to the ground. He's always been a man of sophisticated tastes. Good cheeses and fine wines, the opera, beautiful paintings, fabulous architecture, sculptures and books... Sigh. He's in his flippin' element.

These days, he's a much wanted man as well. He's being hunted down left, right and centre by different individuals who all have varying reasons for wanting to catch up with the little rascal. Reasons like a hefty reward, revenge of the highest order, and plain old-fashioned justice. That last one is Clarice, by the way. She's the only one whose motives for seeking out Lecter are even halfway pure.

Several scenes stand out. The fates of both Inspector Fazzi ('Bowels in or out...?') of the Italian police and poor old Mason Verger don't really bear thinking about, they're so gruesome. And it's honestly hard to know which is worse, what Hannibal originally did to Mason to warrant being hunted down in the first place or what ultimately happens to Mason as a result of his quest for bloody vengeance. Two wrongs don't make a right, do they? They certainly don't seem to...

Clarice gets closer to Hannibal in this film than she ever did in the first instalment. So close, in fact, that he's able to strip her of her serviceable jeans and top and dress her in something that highlights her beautiful slim figure and accentuates her femininity, and all without a peep of protest out of the stroppy Starling. How come he's able to do this...? After all, it sure doesn't sound like Starling's usual hard-assed behaviour. Watch the film and find out, folks...

Hannibal gets close enough, too, to cook for Clarice and wait on her at what has to be the most bizarre dinner party of all time. Naturally, I can't tell you what makes it so strange, but I can tell you that you've literally never seen Ray Liotta give such an open-minded performance...

So, do any of Hannibal Lecter's enemies get the better of him? Don't bet on it, that's all I'll say. Anthony Hopkins is once more superb as the psychopath who can be curiously courteous and considerate as well as homicidal. It really is hard to get a handle on the criminal mind sometimes.

Julianne Moore is a worthy successor to Jodie Foster and, as sequels go, this one's a cracker. One of the rare enough examples, in fact, of a sequel being as good as, if not better than, the original film. Don't leave another day go by without watching (or rewatching!) it. You'd better do it. I'll send Hannibal Lecter after you if you don't, and if you're unlucky enough to catch him between meals, he's liable to get awfully cranky...

RIP Jonathan Demme, who directed THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS.


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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