In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Los Ojos!

After Julia's (Belén Rueda) blind twin sister commits suicide, she discovers that Sara may of, in fact, been murdered. Unable to convince anyone of this, Julia takes it upon herself to investigate, even as the same degenerative disease that afflicted her sibling starts to take hold.

I guess I should preface this review by saying that Julia's Eyes had – due to it being produced by Guillermo del Toro and starring actress Belén Rueda – the unfortunate predicament of being immediately compared to J.A. Bayona's The Orphanage, which I think is one of the best horror films of the last ten years.

I think the main draw of Julia's Eyes is Rueda, who puts in another amazing performance. She really carries this film. Director Guillem Morales has lensed a beautiful film here, with great use of shadow, especially during a sequence towards the end reminiscent of Terence Young's Wait Until Dark. These two things come together to make a solid film. However, I don't think the storytelling was strong enough to take it to that next level.

I've talked about this before, but sometimes I have to make a decision on how important it is that I don't know where things are going. During Julia's Eyes, I found myself often being an hour ahead of the narrative. I'm enjoying everything else about the film, but that sense of wonder is completely negated because I feel I know what's coming. I've had several instances of this before (namely 2001's Frailty and last year's Surveillance) but they still ended up being positive experiences due to the performances and/or filmmaking. I just wished the storytelling in Julia's Eyes had been tweaked in such a way to make it a little less obvious – at least to me. I did however find the exploration of 'what people see when they can't and what people don't see when they can' quite fascinating though.

Guillermo del Toro, along with Morales & Rueda, were at the Q&A, and, as he did when I saw him in '01 & '06 (for Devil's Backbone & Pan's Labyrinth respectively) yukked it up with the crowd. He immediately deflected a question he was asked about being a mentor to young filmmakers saying;

“I've never been a mentor and I hope I never have to be one. I've helped people get their films seen, but if you are a director that needs to be mentored, you shouldn't really be in the business.”

Producer Guillermo del Toro, director Guillem Morales & the stunning Belén Rueda.

He also didn't seem to be worried about getting North American distribution.

“To be honest, I don't really give a shit. I love this film, I think it's brilliant and if need be, I'll release it myself on a few screens.”

Someone also asked about del Toro's next project, to which he said,

“Yeah, it's Mountains of Madness, but were still trying to get it going. I did take some creature designs to ILM and they said 'Wow, we've never seen anything like this', which gets me really excited.”

So, fantastic filmmaking and performances made Julia's Eyes a fine film, but perhaps because of my impossibly high expectations, I was still left a little wanting.

1 comment:

Matt said...

Sounds interesting despite your underwhelmed feeling at the end. Del Toro sounds like quite a character too. Wish I had gotten to see him at Fangoria's Weekend of Horror this year but I missed him.

Interested to hear your take on Let Me In, which I'm still dreading. I can't possibly imagine it being darker than the source material. Have you read the book? It's pretty heavy.