Thursday, 2 June 2011

REVIEW: Julia's Eyes

Well she can see at this point, so that's hardly fair.

Julia's Eyes is the latest entry in the spat of Guillermo Del Toro produced Spanish horror films, and it seems said to say that this might be a studio with diminishing returns. While The Orphanage was for the most part about as good as these things get, manipulative as hell sure, but well-acted and legitimately scary, Julia's Eyes feels less impressive because it feels a lot more familiar and is working of a much weaker script. While there is a legacy of blind-girl thrillers being pretty terrifying Julia's eyes leans way too hard on forcing the tension, leading way too many moments feeling over-cooked and one can't help but feel that if it were not in Spanish, it would be a straight to Lovefilm type deal.

This is maybe a little unfair, as the production values are excellent and like The Orphanage it feels impressively cinematic for what it is and a couple of sequences manage to rap up the tension pretty effectively, and by all accounts its assembled a pretty effective cast. Belen Rueda was one of the main reasons why The Orphanage worked so well, so naturally she's been recruited again, fulfilling her transition into a later in life scream-queen. It also has Lluis Homar, so excellent in a couple of Almodovar films, but particularly Broken Embraces. The film flat out wastes him though, instead choosing to focus pretty much on Rueda solo, and while she does her best, a weak script and a pretty poorly drawn character make her irritating in places. There's also a weird tonal inconsistency, in that in the first half of the film it masquerades as a Supernatural horror movie and once it reveals itself not to be, it suddenly doesn't make a whole lot of sense. You can almost forgive this in an execution over content kind of way, but make no mistake this is a much stupider movie then it pretends to be.

Still, I enjoyed it in places and director Guillem Morales knows how to put together a creepy sequence. It perhaps would have been better if he could write a screenplay worth a damn, but often in the horror genre you have to take what you can get, and this has a pretty classy veneer and I think forced blindness is a concept that generally works in movies, at least at providing cheap thrills. So I think it's a recommendation, only one that has quite a few caveats. And yes the whole last 20 minutes is pretty ridiculous.

Rating: 6/10

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