DIR: Guillem Morales • WRI: Guillem Morales, Oriol Paulo • PRO: Mercedes Gamero, Joaquín Padró, Mar Targarona, Guillermo del Toro • DOP: Óscar Faura • ED: Joan Manel Vilaseca • DES: Balter Gallart • Cast: Belén Rueda, Lluís Homar, Pablo Derqui
Unlike Asian horror movieswhich enjoyed a flash-in-the-pan moment of popularity, Spanish horror remains steadily enjoyed by the English speaking market. This may be because it is more readily accessible and understandable than it’s Asian counterpart, but a lot of the credit must also go to Guillermo Del Toro for championing the homegrown talent in his native tongue.
After hitting pay dirt with The Orphanage a few years ago, Del Toro presents another horror with a heart. Belen Rueda plays an astrophysicist who is suffering from a degenerative disease which will eventually leave her totally blind. Her twin sister, who suffered from the same disease, has apparently just killed herself on the eve of a sight-saving operation, but Rueda believes she was murdered, and takes it upon herself to find out what really happened.
Less out and out horror, more whodunit with some tense moments, the film takes the issue of blindness very seriously, wringing both true emotion and real fear from the topic. Rueda brings the same levels of strength and fragility she displayed in The Orphanage, and for the second half of the film when the camera seems to focus almost exclusively on her face, her performance is almost Oscar®-worthy.
But even though it runs in at two hours, the film feels about twenty minutes too long. And at one point, it does appear that every single character in the movie is out to get our leading lady. So when it comes to blindness based horror movies, Asian flick The Eye still leads the pack. But Julia’s Eyes is a close second.
Rated 16 (see IFCO website for details)
Julia’s Eyes is released on 20th May 2011