Review of Julia’s Eyes(2010)

by on March 10th, 2015
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There are few scary movies that have truly frightened me. I don’t mean to imply that I have nerves of steel, quite the contrary, I will flinch the majority of the time a dark figure jumps from the shadows and onto the screen, but that is more surprise than fear. An authentic scare stays with you long after the film has ended and seeps into your thoughts just before falling asleep as you dread the nightmare that you know will come.

Julia’s Eyes, directed by Guillem Morales, follows a woman as she investigates the mysterious death of her twin sister. Both sisters suffer from a degenerate disease that diminishes a person’s eye sight until their eventual blindness; it is in this state that the sister was thought to have taken her life, depressed and without hope, blind. The problem is that the first scene reveals to the audience that this is not the case as a stranger masked in darkness is implied to have taken part in her suicide. As Julia, the remaining sister, uncovers the events leading up to her sister’s alleged suicide, the presence of the same strange man watching from the shadows remains to haunt her, furthermore, her fear increases as her sight decreases.

The darkness of the settings, which include poorly lit basements, houses and hospitals, lends the audience a vivid experience of the anxiety and fear from losing one’s sight. Many of the scenes that will cause you to cringe involve the uneasiness from the blind character’s vulnerability, straining to see whether a distant figure is a friend or enemy, while you alone are able to view the dangers from a clearer perspective.

Tension is created by the positioning of the camera, often revealing the mysterious man’s own perspective of his victim’s moments before their death. The protagonist’s own disorientation from her loss of sight is imitated by the darkening shadows around the camera’s angles, limiting the audience’s peripheral vision while also dulling the scene’s details. Indeed, one of the most intense scenes of the film displays a complete black screen as the audience is forced to rely on their other senses as Julia must do, while the loss of the vision also focuses the attention to her heavy breathing and sounds her pursuer makes.

Each piece of evidence Julia finds further complicates her sister’s death instead of clearing it, but also allows the audience’s imagination to jump between possible suspects, never quite knowing with a certainty how things will end. The plot of the film allows the story to be delivered at a rapid pace, and keeps the audience in anticipation for the next scene until the very end.

Julia’s Eyes is one of the best horror films I’ve seen in a long time, and embodies its genre’s stylistic use of suspense and uneasiness to frighten its audience.

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