AENIGMA (1988) Review

An eyelid is painted gold while other eerie, delirious eyes watch this film unfold; desirous eyes are watching too. And if you’re not careful, a man in a statue costume will come for you. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, aren’t we? Let’s tread slowly back to the first scene: 20-somethings (pretend they’re teenagers) offer the maid’s daughter (did she get into this exclusive girl school for free?) a makeover, but it’s all a set-up, plus she’s got some sort telekinetic, body-swapping ability as she spends most of the movie twitching, her hair knit with neurological-monitoring wires.

She returns to the school in an upgraded bombshell body, flickering back to her former self every now and again, her mute mother grubbily scrubbing the walls at all hours a grim reminder of what transpired before. Her replacement body immediately snags the attention of the somewhat unprofessional, ass-slapping gym teacher: “I heard you got kicked out of the military for cruelty.” Although the gym teacher does not live long enough to break his Socratic Oath, the school’s doctor sets his Hippocratic Oath aflame seducing not one but two student patients in his care.

Later, a girl is devoured by snails to 80s hair metal solos. In the film’s most ingenious shot, a girl’s strangulation by a man in a Roman sculpture costume is reflected on the coma patient’s eyeball. Although let’s not forget the strangely unsexy bird’s eye view shot of the lecherous doctor and his prey bathed in baby oil and blue filters.

In a film bedecked with so many cute and syrupy moments of tenderness and sweetness, it’s hard to say which moment moved us the most: but the decapitated head of the boyfriend landing right next to slayed body of the cruel and former roommate and basically progenitor of this entire calamity? Yeah, that would the one.

Today is May 11th, 2020, and Aenigma is currently streaming on Amazon Prime here.

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