Film / Don't Look Now

Don't Look Now is a 1973 horror/thriller film directed by Nicolas Roeg and based on a short story by Daphne du Maurier.

John and Laura Baxter (Donald Sutherland, Julie Christie) are mourning the death of their daughter Christine. After moving to Venice, John starts seeing a small figure in the same kind of red raincoat his daughter was wearing when she died. Meanwhile, Venice is plagued by a series of murders.

This movie contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: The film delves a bit more into the backstory and the relationship between the Baxters than the novella does.
  • Adult Fear: Losing a child, very popular.
  • Alien Geometries: Venice comes across like this, with John and Laura getting lost far too easily in places they should feel familiar with.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The Italian characters all speak flawless Italian, but only a couple have a real Venetian accent.
  • Bilingual Bonus: A few scenes feature authentic Italian dialogues, some of them being quite important to understand the plot.
  • Blind Seer: Heather, both blind and psychic.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: Averted; not only is it unreliable, the mud makes it unpretty!
  • Creepy Child: Played with. John thinks he sees one, only he's not quite right.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: John. With a meat cleaver to the neck, no less!
  • Death of a Child: The Baxters' daughter Christine drowns in the opening scene.
  • Fainting: Laura passes out at a restaurant after a blind woman claims to have seen Christine sitting between her and John, laughing.
  • Foreshadowing: If you know what kind of boat John has a vision of Christine riding on, you have an idea of what's going to happen, as it's a funeral boat.
  • Ghost City: Venice comes across as this. This isn't the sunny touristy Venice, but Venice in the off season, where everything closes early, the streets are dark and wet, and isolation sinks in effortlessly.
  • Little Dead Riding Hood: Christine drowns in a bright red coat.
  • Little People Are Surreal: The mysterious dwarf creature who abruptly kills John at the end of the film.
  • Meaningful Background Event: Subverted. Christine Baxter drowns while wearing a red raincoat in the film's opening, and the entire film suggests that she's trying to appear before the Baxters from the beyond but it's really a midget in a red raincoat with a meat cleaver, who murders randomly.
  • Mistaken from Behind: The film ends with a horrific instance of this trope as the bereft parent thinks he can see his daughter and she turns out to be a female dwarf in a red coat carrying a hunting knife, with which she attacks him.
  • Psychological Horror: The film is more based around building an atmosphere of dread, grief and apprehension than jump scares.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: John is preparing to go back to England when he inexplicably sees Laura and the two sisters on a boat on the river, which prompts him to stay in Venice in an effort to find Laura. His vision of Laura is in fact a premonition of Laura riding on a funeral boat following his own death. His premonition of his funeral is what prompts him to stay in Venice, which then leads to his death.
  • Skyward Scream: John, after surfacing with his dead daughter in his arms.