What Have They Done To Your Daughters?/Review
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
After watching numerous movies in a particular genre, you think you can figure out the beats as they come. But sometimes you still end up being surprised while watching yet another movie of the said genre and go "hmmm, that was actually good!!!" Watching What Have They Done To Your Daughters? definitely made me feel that way. Now, this could be because I was half excepting a sequel of What Have You Done to Solange?, from the same director (Massimo Dallamano) with an obvious connection to the name but turned out to be a different beast altogether. Or it could also be because it imbibed the best parts of both the Giallo and Poliziotteschi sub-genres, two of my favorites from that era.
Right from the opening scene set in a seemingly normal school filled with regular kids hanging out, it had me hooked. It seemed to illustrate the fact that nothing is as it seems and things are definitely going downhill from here for at least some of the characters, which of course it does. The movie really begins when one such character is found hanging in an apartment, apparently having committed suicide who is soon identified as Sylvia, a high school kid from a well to do family who looks like she has it all and has no reason to kill herself. While watching a tape of a riot that took place during the same day she was killed, the investigating officers realize that she was at the riot spot leading them to believe that she was murdered and later hung at the apartment where she was eventually found. This bursts the investigation, and the plot by default, wide-open leading us into a labyrinth of sex rackets involving school kids, creepy voyeuristic photographers, and in true Giallo fashion, a helmet-wearing biker with a machete and an iron-clad agenda.
What struck me while watching the movie was that the plot was genuinely moving forward pretty organically as there seemed to be a logic behind how and what was happening on screen and during the investigations making it one hell of a Poliziotteschi. As the investigations go on and the really chilly details come forth, we could feel sorrow and anguish brewing inside the cops despite their pragmatic and world-weary exteriors. And when the killings and butchery do happen, it is glorious making it one hell of a Giallo movie too. Another part that illustrates the dual Giallo / Poliziotteschi nature of the movie is two sequences involving the butcher biker. One a high-speed chase involving him and the cops which is a real thrill ride and the second is a cat and mouse chase between the said biker and a lady cop which is mighty suspenseful.
If there is one thing that lets down the movie though, it is the climax which is a damp squib as there seems to be a feeling of an ending being rushed. But don't let that get to you as the rest of the movie is pure joy. And I HAVE to mention that theme song, as in the case of most Giallo movies, which is irritatingly catchy and is still stuck in my head. All in all, a must-watch for fans of the two genres.