Who’s a fan of giallo movies? You know the ones, right? Those 1970s Italian horror/mystery movies that were kind of a big deal for a while? No. Well, fine. You don’t have to be in order to enjoy the silliness that is The Editor. But if you are, then this is a movie that you need to see, like, right now. Seriously. Stop what you’re doing, fly to wherever it’s currently screening (unless you’re reading this review a year after I publish it, in which case check Netflix), and go see it. I’ll wait.
(I lied. I’m not waiting.)
The film is led by co-director Adam Brooks, who plays a “famous” film editor, Rey Ciso. He used to be great, but after an accident that led to him cutting off several of his fingers, he’s now working on poor quality horror movies. Murders take place among the cast and crew, all of them gruesome. The killer’s signature is cutting off the same fingers that Rey lost. So, he’s the prime suspect, even though, true to the genre’s form, everyone acts kind of shady.
Detective Peter Porfiry (co-director Matthew Kennedy) is the man assigned to the case. He immediately suspects Rey, which makes sense. Rey had a mental breakdown years ago, works all hours of the day, and often has lapses in his memory. Also, we see him in some supernatural scenes. The Editor gets weird at times, okay? A murder happens every few minutes, though, and we’re never sure, until the end, exactly who did it. And then we find out and aren’t quite sure what just happened, because it’s all nonsense.
I don’t mean that insultingly. The film knows it’s all nonsense and is trying to make sure that you know it, too. It’s a silly as silly gets. There isn’t more than a scene or two in the whole film that isn’t supposed to be taken for laughs. Yes, even with all the gruesome murders. You’re supposed to be laughing. The Editor is making fun of many of the conventions, tropes, and problems with (late-period) giallo movies. It knows what it’s doing. Its filmmakers know the issues these films have. And they’re making fun of them.
Let’s see, what is there? The terrible gore effects, the (sometimes) poor dubbing, the awful supporting acting, the … “interesting” lighting choices, the excessive nudity, the awkward editing, the lovely, if inappropriate, music, and a complete lapse of logic in the narrative. I think that’s it. Maybe there’s more. It’s a lot to take in, okay? And it’s all funny. It’s clever, it’s well-done, and even if you’re not particularly familiar with giallo films — I can’t say I am — you’re going to have a good time.
The joke does eventually wear thin. There’s no reason for a film like this one to run 100 minutes. Eventually, the jokes become predictable, and there’s nothing beyond them to keep us entertained. I mean, are you really going to care about the central mystery? Probably not. It’s not like we have genuine characters to care about or anything. We have gore, nudity, and jokes. And none of it is enough to remain compelling for 100 minutes. 80 minutes? Maybe. But even then, I was getting a little tired. At 40 minutes, though, I thought it was the best thing ever (hyperbolic statement, ahoy!).
I was surprised at how good Adam Brooks and Matthew Kennedy were in the acting department. Yes, even though they’ve acted in more projects than they’ve directed. Really, the whole cast is great at acting bad, if that makes sense. Maybe some of them didn’t even know that they weren’t supposed to do a good job, and just suck. But it worked. And be on the lookout for some cameos from giallo stars, if you’re a fan of giallo movies.
Despite being a bit too long for its own joke, The Editor accomplishes what it set out to do. Namely, it pokes fun at all of the conventions and tropes of giallo movies from the 1970s. If you haven’t seen any of those, you’re still going to have a good time, even if you won’t quite “get” everything that the film has to offer. It’s funny, it’s gory, it’s cheesy, and it’s a good deal of fun, even if a tighter screenplay would have made for an even better experience.