Not half bad effort from Argento, a giallo film updated for the Internet age, with the killer playing video poker online in a high-stakes game with police over the life of his kidnap victims.
With some noteable similarities to "Saw," this film is more "Silence of the Lambs"-style police drama than horror film, complete with serial killer profiling, etc. Shot in Italy, it's so well dubbed it's hard to notice it was filmed in a foreign language.
Rocca plays the Clarice-like lead cop (Argento apparently wrote the part for his daughter, Asia, who wasn't available) who wanted to play the killer in video poker before being prevented from doing so by her superiors. As a result, one woman was killed on webcam. More soon follow.
Like many giallos, the film's major hook is its mystery storyline, followed by some gore effects. Missing is a nice score by Goblin, but given the police drama feel of the film, a rock score might have been out of place.
The film becomes more and more giallo-esque as it moves along, with some members of the police team being stalked and/or murdered cat-and-mouse style. The only thing that's missing are the trademark Argento leather gloves with zippers.
It degenerates into a weak, TV-movie style mystery by its final act, however, and ultimately leaves the viewer wondering if Argento has lost his touch. Perhaps his daughter Asia made the right decision when she decided not to take the lead role in this one. A must-see for video poker fans, but not much else.
The film saw a theatrical release in Europe, and went straight to DVD in the U.S.