I am starting to think that I can pretty much watch any collaboration between Bergman, Max Von Sydow and Sven Nykvist and not be completely bored by it. There was a lot of stuff in this film that bugged me. The dialogue exchanges between Alma and Johan just seem heavy-handed and overdone. Secondly, while I love the idea of a surreal horror film made by Bergman, a lot of it feels really silly with the closeups of scary looking old people and what not (kinda fun to watch this so soon after watching a Lynch film).
Otoh, I loved the idea of people who live together starting to resemble one another and even starting to share one’s hallucinations. It’s a scary horrifying portrait of a relationship and I found the horror in that a lot scarier than the crazy old people from across the island. And this is all the more awesome when it’s Max Von Sydow playing the husband going crazy. When he tells Alma about how he got the marks on his neck and so on, it’s so understated and so bone-chilling. The scene on the beach with the little boy is shot perfectly and is probably the best scene in the entire film. The burlesque scenes were fun visually but really tedious and I could’ve done with them being a lot shorter ultimately. And the postscript felt really heavy-handed with Alma pretty much stating all the ideas of the film verbally.
It’s all really interesting regardless.