Scripts focusing on crime and horror writers have been the backbone of many an interesting horror flick over the years.

From Dario Argento’s Tenebre to George A Romero’s The Dark Half (with plenty more thrown in for good measure) the narrative drive of a scribe caught up in a maelstrom of menace has been used to good effect.

Well know we can add Christopher Roth to that list, an interesting if flawed attempt.

Ditching the usual ‘killer going around copying the writer’s methods’ plot device that usually propels films of this ilk, at least it tries something different.

But after a promising first half the film descends into an unseemly mess by the close, leaving the viewer to ponder what might have been.

Christopher Roth is the pseudonym of a gory crime novelist (played by Joaquim de Almeida), who has become a household name across the US thanks to his hard-hitting thrillers.

But Roth wants to try his hand at something different, as he feels the constant stream of violence and pain flowing from his pen are distorting his views of reality.

Roth, along with his wife, elects to travel to Italy, setting up camp in a stunning mansion in Umbria as he attempts to channel his creativity in a newer, more romantic direction.

All seems grand as the wine flows and emotions rise, but wouldn’t you know, there just happens to be a serial killer on the loose in the exact area they have decided to visit.

The killer is known as ‘The Boar’, thanks to his gruesome tactic of piercing his victim’s cheeks with tusks for a chilling photograph after their murder.

But how exactly does this involve Roth, and can he do anything to stop it?

As stated earlier the film gets off to a flying start, thanks to a solid performance from de Almeida and an intriguing premise.

But as the bodies begin to pile up and the mystery starts to unravel, things go from enjoyable, to bearable, to borderline farcical.

As the killer is unveiled things rapidly run out of steam, and the whole conclusion seems very rushed.

On the plus side there is some decent gore, the acting is fine enough and the locations are enough to have anybody checking out Italian vacations.

But for a film that held my attention right from the get-go, by the final chapter I was simply waiting for it to be over.

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.