What Have They Done to Your Daughters Movie Review
Today I felt in the mood to put on a movie expecting a stylish giallo. Instead I got an Italian film that fits more in the poliziotteschi genre, but mixes them both up in an enjoyable way. The 14 year old girl Silvia has been found brutally murdered in Rome, Italy. The police investigation becomes a hard one, with leading investigator Silvestri and deputy attorney Stori working day and night with their team to figure out who were behind this awful crime. The entire city is in uproar because of this, so pressure is coming from both a political and a personal aspect and when more people end up becoming victims of this brutal killer, Silvestri and Stori has to do whatever they can and turn every stone possible to put and end to this macabre mayhem. What Have They Done to Your Daughters is a police procedural that was surprisingly engaging to sit through.
It got me interested right away as it starts out showing the discovery of the dead teenager, who was left naked and strangled in her apartment and I immediately wanted to see where this was going. And thankfully, the story succeeded in keeping me immersed to the very end. It is all presented in a brutal and cold way. There is no attempts at letting the viewer get off easy as everything is thrown right at you, and while it isn’t a film with lots of gruesome violence on screen, although it is far from bloodless, you still feel everything that is put on display for you. It is a cold reminder that there are sick people out there in the world, and that very little has changed regarding that during the forty five years since this movie was made.
The murder scenes show the giallo inspiration, even down to the outfit of the killer, who’s dressed in leather clothes and a motorcycle helmet. Very little time is spent on the killer himself though, as it is more about the investigation to get to him and the slow unraveling of all the horrific details that we get throughout the movie. The movie brings up some issues regarding the value of the younger generation and political corruption. There is also some interesting viewpoints regarding the worth of females, which doesn’t seem to just be there just because this was a product of its time, at least it felt like it was done on purpose to me. There is also some rough discussions regarding these poor young teenagers that are very judgmental and did kind of shock me.
There is also an intriguing work relationship between detective Silvestri, played by Claudio Cassinelli who you might remember from movies such as Flavia the Heretic, Mountain of the Cannibal God and Alligator, amongst many others, and his co-star Giovanni Ralli as DA Stori. They have an interesting dynamic together and it’s clear that Silvestri is unsure if he can accept a beautiful woman with such a high rank. It’s not a big subject matter within the film, but it is there and small things like that does keep the interest up as there is always something more going on than just the main story line. And I am also happy that they steered away from bringing much romance into this, as it would not suit the otherwise bleak world this is set in.
This is the second movie in the fan dubbed schoolgirls in peril trilogy from director and screenwriter Massimo Dallamano, following his perhaps most known movie with the 1972 What Have You Done to Solange and ending with the 1978 Ring of Fear. He also has about ten other movies, but I have honestly not seen a single one of them except the classic western A Fistful of Dollars, which he served as a cinematographer on.
That is definitely about to change though as I was highly impressed with his work on What Have They Done to Your Daughters. His way of creating tension and camera work is a real treat to witness. Just the way he nailed the realistic and gritty tone, while still being able to switch it up and go more giallo with the murder scenes shows that he is an excellent craftsman. So don’t be surprised if a review of What Have You Done To Solange pops up on my channel in the future. And please do let me know which of his other films that I need to check out. Dallamano sadly died in a car accident in 1976. I also enjoyed the score by the accomplished composer Stelvio Cipriani, who managed to gain 240 credits, including work on three movies with Mario Bava, which was A Bay of Blood, Baron Blood and Rabid Dogs. before he passed away in 2018.
The score for this one takes a lot of room when it is played, but I felt it was an appropriate score for the tone they went for. Some might think it is too much, but I liked it quite a bit. What Have They Done to Your Daughters is a great film that surprised me in how engaging it was.
There is much more to this than most Italian genre films and the work both in front and behind the camera is to be praised. I will recommend this one to anyone who enjoys Italian movies from the 70’s, this is one to spend some money on and grab on BluRay. What Have They Done to Your Daughters gets the strong score of 4 out of 5.
Have you seen this film, with its long ass title? Did you like it as much as I did? If gialli’s is your thing, then check out the Spanish film The Glass Coffin from 2016. That one seems to sadly go a bit unnoticed and that’s a shame as it is a great film. I hope you enjoyed this review of What Have They Done to Your Daughters, pressing that like button let’s me know that you did and that you would welcome more reviews like this one. Thank you for watching and I hope you return again for more videos on the weird, obscure and forgotten, here on Cinema Terror.