DVD Review: Julia's Eyes

PrintE-mail Written by Julian White

Back in the Sixties and Seventies, Spain enjoyed a lively notoriety among movie buffs for concocting awkward, off-beat, amusingly grotesque exercises in the horror genre. Think Paul Naschy, think Tombs of the Blind Dead. But those days have gone the way of the sombrero and the straw donkey, to judge by this elegant offering from writer/director Guillem Morales and producer Guillermo Del Toro.

Julia and her sister Sara (played by Belen Rueda with different hair) are both suffering from the same degenerative eye disease. Sara is the first to go blind. When she's found hanging by the neck from a rope in the basement of her rambling house, the general assumption is that despair has gotten the better of her. But Julia becomes convinced that someone else was there to kick the stool out from under her feet, and is soon on the trail of Sara's intriguingly mysterious boyfriend.

Lending urgency to her investigation is her own sense that she's being watched by an elusive and sinister presence. A creepy caretaker warns: “He has no light. He knows how to be a shadow.” As her own eyesight falters, she plays cat and mouse with this phantom through labyrinthine hospital basements and cavernous car parks.

The result is a refined, smartly tailored entry in the stalker sub-genre – although, as the killer has a thing about cameras, we're talking stalk and flash rather than stalk and slash. The storyline is a little conventional and lacking in emotional resonance, but the film compensates with style and the willowy, long-calved presence of Belen Rueda, who suffers beautifully in the lead role.

Morales mounts, shoots and edits his movie with a rather chilly bravura technique informed by the gialli of Dario Argento and Brian De Palma's Hitchock homages. He borrows Argento's trick of using a subjective camera to represent the faceless killer, and stages a climactic action set piece framed, a la Rear Window, in brilliant camera flashes. The result, just as with Argento and DaPalma, is contrived but undoubtedly luxurious, if lacking the perverse edge, the fire beneath the ice, to be truly memorable. Instead, it purrs along pleasantly, classy, assured but a trifle anonymous.

Julia's Eyes doesn't quite mesmerise in the way the best horror should, but it will appeal to fans of Argento and De Palma, and it's certainly a refreshing change from the cheap, grimy torture porn that so often gets released these days.

Julia's Eyes is released in the UK on DVD/Blu-ray September 12th


Suggested Articles:
Ken Russell, the sometimes genius who directed the Oscar winning Women In Love, The Devils and Tommy
Masamune Shirow’s groundbreaking Ghost In The Shell has been thrilling fans for the best part of 3
Written and directed by Matthew Sconce, Altar is one of the latest found footage films to find its w
Back in the days of VHS, one of Dreamscape’s releases on the format had a cover that suggested a k
scroll back to top

Comments  

 
0 #1 sophiea iqbal 2011-09-05 23:41
I really liked the mood and over all creepy factor that this movie had. The movie was done in a very clever way and although not everything made sense, it wasnt what stood out to me. The lead Belen was amazing in her representation of the blind characters, and so convincing in her portrayal it was scary. The music, the flash of the camera as the scenes played, everything just gave it the feel of a true horror movie.

One to add to the collection.
Quote
 

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in DVD / Blu-ray Reviews

ALTERED STATES 26 July 2017

GHOST IN THE SHELL 26 July 2017

ALTAR 26 July 2017

DREAMSCAPE 22 July 2017

ELECTRIC DREAMS 22 July 2017

DRIVE-IN DELIRIUM: THE OFFSPRING, VOL. 2 22 July 2017

TERMINAL ISLAND 22 July 2017

24: LEGACY 22 July 2017

PSYCHO II 20 July 2017

KONG: SKULL ISLAND 20 July 2017

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner