When I see Guillermo del Toro’s name attached to a project, I immediately associate it with quality; as a fan of every movie he’s been involved with in some capacity I’ve seen up until now, I have yet to be let down. That was until I saw Julia’s Eyes, Guillem Morales’ mystery thriller which comes up falling way short of being the excellent film it could have been. And it’s a wasted opportunity.
Julia’s Eyes opens with a blind woman in a basement preparing to hang herself; but she’s not alone, as someone – or something – else in the room with her. Whatever is there, it’s completely invisible until it helps her dispose of the stool. Suspicious of the circumstances of the death, the victims twin sister, Julia (Belen Rueda), decides to investigate along with her husband, but like her sister, Julia suffers from a rare disease that’s causing her to lose her sight too; all the while being stalked by a malevolent force.
The problem with this movie is that the story is completely bonkers and unsatisfying. The first hour is great: a thrilling, spooky cat and mouse chase, sitting on the fence between reality and the supernatural is when it’s at it’s most effective. There are some minor pacing issues, but not enough to take away from the unfolding mystery. But then it all goes down hill; spiralling into a cliché-filled mess that’s as predictable as it is convoluted. Never before have I seen a movie crawl up its own butt and be content to drag out its own boring demise for so long. We know exactly what’s going to happen, yet it insists on dragging it out to the point you wished you’d hung yourself along with the protagonists sister at the start; just so you could avoid 2 hours of boredom. Okay that was an exaggeration… but it does falter big time.
Strong performances from the cast and beautiful cinematography are enough to carry you until the end. Furthermore, it’s packed with suspense throughout; even if it does lose it’s effect because you’re counting the minutes until the end credits roll. At times, the dialogue is a little corny, but there are still some moments of tenderness and beauty between Julia and her husband. Again, like I said: the performances are impressive.
As a director, Morales shows a lot of potential and I’m sure he’ll go on to make many great movies in the future. Unfortunately, this one just missed the mark. Don’t take my word for it though; this was a well received movie, and it does have moments of brilliance, so check it out for yourself. 5/10.
Guillem Morales & Oriol Paulo
Belen Rueda, Lluis Homar, Pablo Derqui
Horror, Mystery, Thriller