Ænigma is a 1987 [released 1988] Italian horror film directed by Lucio Fulci (Zombie Flesh Eaters; City of the Living Dead; The Beyond) from a screenplay co-written with Giorgio Mariuzzo.
Jared Martin, Lara Naszinski, Ulli Reinthaler, Sophie D’Aulan, Jennifer Naud, Kathy Wise. Director Fulci has a cameo role as a police detective at the crime scene of Fred Vernon’s death.
St. Mary’s College, Boston, New England: Lonely pupil Kathy is an outcast at an boarding school whom lands in a coma resulting from accidentally being hit by a car during a cruel practical joke against her by several of her tormentors.
A little later, Eva, a new arrival to the school, takes over Kathy’s old room and begins socializing with some of the girls responsible for Kathy’s condition. It transpires that Eva is a pawn under the control of the comatose Kathy from her hospital bed in seeing revenge against those whom did her wrong, while Kathy’s physician, meets and begins dating Eva whom also targets his latest girlfriend…
“In terms of sheer entertainment, however, the film simply flies by, feeling half the length of even some arguably better lesser Fulci efforts like Manhattan Baby. Its blend of eighties silliness and off-the-wall nastiness make Aenigma prime late-night viewing for Italian horror fans.” Anchorwoman in Peril
” … we get bleeding paintings, death by statue, an Evil Dead-esque strangulation by doppelgänger, and in the most infamous moment of the feature, suffocation by snails. Unfortunately the latter scene, despite being actually quite effective in execution on account of using real, live, snails, will pretty much always, understandably, stick in the mind of those who seek to denigrate the film as a whole.” Pickled Cinema
“The effects and makeup do effectively create an eerie atmosphere. In particular I’ll say that comatose Kathy resonates an aura of malice (as seen above), and anyone who is even slightly uncomfortable with bugs will be squirming at the slug scene. Though it is a far cry from one of Fulci’s greatest films, Aenigma is still certainly an entertaining watch.” Blood Sucking Geek
“There’s plenty wrong with Aenigma, but not enough to really rile up the viewer. Aenigma fails to impress or enrage, it sits in the middle as a hollow and empty experience masquerading as a horror film.” Sound on Sight
“Ænigma was Fulci’s stab at making an up-to-date eighties-style horror movie. The film stock is bland, clean and micro-grained while the lighting strives vainly for colour gel atmospherics. Caught between two stools, the film can’t even boast the right sort of cast for this new aesthetic it’s trying to please. The actresses simply aren’t tacky enough.” Stpehen Thrower, Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci
“Though girls are smothered by snails or crushed to death by an animated Greek statue, the horrors are mostly clumsy and familiar, involving shaky camerawork, unconvincing decapitations by window and hysterical overacting. The premise is stolen from Patrick (1978) and the the overwhelmingly blue look borrowed from Phenomena (1986)…” The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror