Movie Review: “Julia’s Eyes” – A Love Letter to Hitchcock

Written by Angela August 07, 2014

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Dark and stormy nights call for dark and stormy horror movies laden with mystery and suspense. Guillem Morales’ 2010 Spanish hit “Julia’s Eyes” is one such movie. With its chilling premise and never-ending twists, this film is perfect for enhancing the mood of any candle-lit apartment from gloomy to heinously eerie.

Twins Sara and Julia (Belen Rueda) were born with a rare degenerative condition in their eyes. They were able to stave off blindness throughout childhood, but as adults the condition is taking its toll on each of the estranged sisters. However, when Sara’s body is found hanging from a noose, Julia instinctively knows that the reason behind her death lies beyond a suicide over her inevitable loss of sight. Following a combination of clues and intuition, Julia finds herself on a desperate hunt for answers to the questions that haunt her, hoping to find them before she too is consumed by the darkness that took her sister’s life.

“If someone feels invisible…”

The screenplay of “Julia’s Eyes” was clearly written with the audience’s experience in mind at all times, dead set on keeping them on edge until the very end. With a more than respectful nod toward the work of the venerable Alfred Hitchcock, Morales’ direction makes use of clever cinematography to up the ante in terms of on-screen tension. For instance, the camera will often pan around a room in search of significant objects, finding them before the characters do. Given Julia’s waning vision, the audience is occasionally informed of impending danger before she figures it out herself, thus demonstrating Hitchcock’s well-known dictum to always show, and never tell. My favourite technique, and perhaps the one most noticeably present, involves an interesting switch from an objective to subjective POV shot wherein the audience is only informed of Julia’s personal perspective during an extremely terrifying twenty minutes. Bizarre characters and MacGuffins aplenty top off this carefully pieced whodunit tale that both film students and murder-mystery fans are going to love picking apart.

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“…and is angry at the world…”

For all its devious intrigue, the oversupply of MacGuffins slightly creates some dead weight, especially during the first act of the film, wherein the exact tone of the story seems to quiver like the needle of a broken compass, unable to find a direction to commit to. Perhaps, like Hitchcock’s “Vertigo”, it was the filmmaker’s meaning to have the audience guess as to whether they are dealing with a foe of supernatural origin, or if it is merely a human being behaving at his psychological worst. Although the film is meticulously woven, be warned that some threads are tighter than others. This being said, the ending twist is pleasantly reminiscent of yet another well-know Hitchcock film which I am not at liberty to name in lieu of spoilers, making for quite a satisfying (if not a wee bit predictable) conclusion.

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“…he can be dangerous.”

It’s not every day that a devoted enthusiast pays genuinely decent tribute to his hero, yet Morales pulls off his show of admiration with both tact and style. As obvious as the allusions to Hitchcock’s techniques are, he manages to complete the task with his own original flourishes of contemporary violence and high definition filming. An original Hitchcock film is unquestionably deserving of a watch in any time and place, but this modern, international homage is just as enjoyable, and especially appropriate for an ominous summer storm night.

My Rating: 7.5/10

JEP

 

 

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About Angela

Angela McInnes is an English major and up-and-coming horror film aficionado. To her, happiness is a bottle of rum and a creature-feature on a Saturday night.

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