ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Across the River (Oltre il guado) Movie Review

Updated on June 6, 2018
"Across the River" Movie Poster
"Across the River" Movie Poster

Across the River

Fear is rarely lost in translation and the horror genre holds a universal ability to prey upon both primal fears and psychological terror. Such universality is embodied in writer-director Lorenzo Bianchini's Italian horror film, "Across the River," which left me unhinged at its U.S. premiere at the Telluride Horror Show in 2013. Like many festival gems, it's been hard to find the film for consumption, but recently (as of November, 2016) it has been available on Amazon Prime.

The film's dialogue and action are sparse, to put it mildly, but the film's exercise in tonal and visual bleakness, densely layered atmospherics as well as methodical pacing creeps under your skin.

International (English) Trailer "Across the River"

The Lone Ethologist

Bianchini's scare tactics are a slow burn of the psychological order that leave you wandering in the unknown of a single character's doomed situation. It introduces a lone ethologist, Marco Contrada, played by a sadly undiscovered Marco Marchese, surveying and tracking wildlife in a Northern Italian wilderness near Slovenia. A seemingly routine tracking of wildlife cameras and markers begins to reveal some disturbingly unexplained happenings. His findings bring him quite literally, "Across the River," and he stumbles upon the fascinating, albeit creepy, ruins of a village.

Filming Location of Ruins in Topolò

What's an Ethologist?

Ethology: Study of animal behavior in its natural habitat.

Chilling Plausibility

The man is virtually alone in the woods, and he seems to inhabit this existence comfortably. The only other characters we encounter are an elderly couple living in their rural home, presumably in the area, as they share hearing the same eerie, blood-curdling screeches that echo across the night. From these screeches, the footage the man obtains from his cameras around the forest, to findings of decimated animal carcasses, it's evident there is something not to be messed with.

In most horror films, the implausible happens and characters frustratingly continue on a path they should not, without justifiable reason. This is what makes, Across the River, so convincingly chilling in that Marco must continue pursuing the strangeness - it is his job as an ethologist.

Suspension in the Unknown

That's all you need to know, or should know going into Across the River, as it's not a matter of plot spoilers per say, so much as the film's scariest moments are in not knowing. The atmospherics are anxiety inducing, through its moonlit cinematography and otherworldly soundscape, as Marco lurks through the woods and in this tattered and cursed village ruin.

What may seem like the film's unbearably plodded pacing, is a methodical and intentional hypnotism. As Marco is slowly entranced by this ominous environment, we are pulled into a nerve wrecking labyrinth of shadows, cryptic debris, and ghastly surrealism.

German Trailer for "Across the River"

New Voice for Italian Horror

To embrace the film, watch it alone in the dark on a rainy night. It has drawn mentions of David Lynch, with a noted visual homage to Twin Peaks. (Birth Death Movies) The atmospherics have also garnered comparison in the methodical pacing to the likes of Roman Polanski and Alfred Hitchcock. (SpannersGerm669)

It is not a perfect story by any means, with unexplained holes and exposition that lacks finesse. Across the River is nothing like the Italian horror films of Dario Argento or Giallo films, but it will get inside your head all the same.

"Across the River" Horror Poster
"Across the River" Horror Poster

© 2016 Jason Cangialosi


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)