Piercing by Nicolas Pesce


Piercing by Nicolas Pesce was one the great surprises of the 2018 edition of the NIFFF festival.

Pesce wrote the script together with Ryû Murakami, who also wrote the novel the movie is based on.

Young father Reed has fantasies – very dark fantasies. He dreams about taking a life and he craves his first kill, thus following the meticulous planning of the demise of a hooker. He has everything worked out, how he wants to kill her, how he plans to dispose of her body, where he is going to do it and when.

Anxiously he sets up his lair in a hotel room, phoning the call girl service, specifically asking for a whore willing to practise S/M, as then she will have to let him tie her up and he can easily indulge in his perverse needs.

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However, once the very young and beautiful Jackie arrives things don’t exactly go to plan and soon Reed is in over his head…

Piercing is the essence and soul of a neo giallo. The opening sequence says it all, a camera moving slowly up over the many windows of anonymous skyscrapers, and only  later you realise your eyes have been tricked and the buildings are actually man-made backdrop. Piercing is laced with milestone music themes taken from seventies and eighties gialli, with the titles from Dario Argento’s Profondo Rosso by Goblin and Tenebrae by Keith Emerson surely two of the most commonly known.

Piercing puts you right back into the golden age of giallo. Christopher Abbott (Reed) even looks like an Italian actor from that time period with a blonde Mia Wasikowska (Jackie) fitting right in. The clothes and style, the old-fashioned hotel room, the phone booth on the street, the fact that you order a prostitute by phone and not online – all of this perfectly puts you right back into the seventies and into an Argento/Bava state of mind.


Piercing is refreshing, perverse, violent and its few weaknesses can easily be ignored. Two psychopaths playing cat and mouse is not for the faint-hearted and the movie has some nicely nasty plot twists in store for the viewer until the very surprising end.

Piercing is an ode to the genre of giallo and a true gem of the horror genre. One of my favourite films this year. Don’t miss it.


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