It looks similar to Sonno, with a heavily graded image doing a mostly-excellent job of evoking 70s colour palettes, and a heavily Goblin-inspired soundtrack driving the action. There aren't any artificial scratches on the 'film' this time; they've settled for a sprinkling of fake grain. The image is in 2.35:1. and some shots seem awkwardly framed, as if the decision to crop the image to that ratio was made late in the day (or Luciano, who again wears many, many hats on the film, forgot his framing one on occasion). The quickfire editing and stylised (if cropped) framing do threaten to overpower the narrative, but given the fairly standard nature of said narrative, which this may well have been a deliberate choice. One recurring motif is a jarring cut to a shot which tilts uwards, which is possibly meant to reflect a thematic concern with, or plot point about, growing up.
The plot, such as it is, concerns a series of murders which have shaken Rome (AKA Argentina) to its core. The victims seem to have been targeted for their immorality, with the killer being inspired by The Divine Comedy. One of the investigating policemen makes a tenuous connection between the murders and the disappearance of a child (whose father is a leading Dante scholar) fifteen years previously. A few grains of fertiliser, which are found at an early murder scene, prove to be the vital clue, with the time it takes for the lab to analyse them providing the breathing room for the visuals, music and style to take centre stage for most of the brief running time.
The props, costumes and tropes which were the focus of most of Sonno's close-up-heavy visuals all return, which has led to many reviewers suggesting that the film strays too far into the realm of pastiche. Once again, as with Sonno, I'd argue that the fact that the film contains the germs of a murder-mystery plot amidst all the bottles of J&B and red telephones elevates it above many of its neo-giallo contemporaries (into the world of the pure giallo), and I'd definitely take an Onetti brothers film above an art installation by Cattet and Forzani any day of the week.
One thing that's maybe hindered by the incessant pace of the editing and idiosyncrasies of the framing is tension. The murder scenes revolve around the sudden appearance of creepy doll, so it's hard to make them un-creepy. Onetti does his best, though, with either too short a build-up (in the case of the first full murder scene), or an overly edited, too-tightly-framed lead-in (in the case of the pianist's murder). A church murder scene confuses atmospheric dutched shots of religious statues for tension-generation, and the ever-present and ever-dominant soundtrack has nowhere to go when it comes to the murders, being as it is dialled up to eleven the whole time.
One area where Onetti excels-and this is something that can be very useful for no-budget filmmakers-is in his extension of the cinematic world beyond what is shown in the film. The film takes place over a few days and contains a few characters, but flashbacks and, even more so, television news reports expand the filmic universe (briefly intersecting with that of Sonno) by giving us backstory and introducing characters with an economy of effort (and economy). In some ways, most classic gialli are centred around an investigation into an this extended cinematic space, with the identity and motivations of the killer rooted in events of the past, but Onetti manages to expertly distil these past events into brief snatches of dialogue and abstract imagery, extending his miniscule budget as much as possible.
It's not a film that everyone-even seasoned giallo hounds-will love, but there's undeniable talent in evidence here, as well as (I believe) an under-appreciated and under-acknowledged commitment to honouring the investigative side of the classic gialli. They even throw in an homage to Dressed to Kill, and all those other films where killers are in drag, by the incongruity of big man feet stomping around in high heels.
Oh, and the credits are just as Onetti-onanistic as those of Sonno.