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Julia's Eyes/Los Ojos de Julia


Stars: Belen Rueda, Lluis Homar, Pablo Derqui, Francesc Orella, Joan Dalmau, Boris Ruiz, Andrea Hermosa, Julia Gutierrez Caba

Director: Guillem Morales

Morales’ atmospheric chiller carries the imprimateur “Guillermo Del Toro Presents” with Del Toro calling the film, scripted by Morales and Oriol Paulo “a perverse and ingenious mix between Borges’ thesis, Hitchcock’s thriller and Giallo all’Italiana”. Unfortunately, a fanfare like that almost inevitably serves to raise audience expectations a tad too high. What we get is a shocker that builds strong suspense, stages exemplary chills and thrills and then, sadly, fails to capitalize on them with a less than satisfying dénouement. Also, rather than Hitchcock, I would probably have cited Terence Young since at one stage Julia’s Eyes brings back strong memories of 1967’s Wait Until Dark.

That said, atmospheric cinematography (Oscar Faura) helps chill the story of Rueda, who is slowly going blind herself, trying to solve the mystery of her blind twin sister Sara’s death. Sara was found hanged in the basement of her house. The police verdict is suicide, but Rueda believes she was murdered and investigates while her sight inexorably continues to fail…

Despite the climax which is something of a let down, Julia’s Eyes is not for the faint-hearted. Morales is blessed with a strong central performance by Rueda (star of The Ophanage) and stages enough well-wrought chills and bloody, violent thrills to satisfy horrorflick buffs.

One thing is certain: Julia’s Eyes is infinitely better than the sadly inevitable Hollywood remake is likely to be. Let us pray the project doesn’t fall into the blunt talons of the new (but barely revived) Hammer Films.

Alan Frank

Spain 2010. UK Distributor: Optimum. Colour.
117 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 19 May 2011