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Julia's Eyes

by

Jeff Nelson

Julia's Eyes doesn't come close to mastering the quality of the previous films directed by Guillermo Del Toro, but it's a decent horror thriller that deserves a rental.

Julia's Eyes
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Guillermo Del Toro has developed a respectable career over the years. As he transitioned from independent filmmaking to big budget American cinema, he never lost his visionary style in the transition. It appears that many directors, including Guillermo Del Toro, have also been simply producing films directed by other filmmakers. Del Toro simply produces Julia's Eyes, but doesn't appear to have much more involvement other than that. When I originally saw the trailer, it appeared to be interesting. However, I still didn't feel comfortable placing high expectations upon it, so I placed the DVD into my player without holding my hopes too high.

Julia loses her eyesight to a degenerative disease. When her twin sister, Sara, supposedly commits suicide, Julia suspects that a murderer is on the loose and that she's next. As she investigates with her husband, Isaac, Julia realizes that a man is watching her, but her credibility is weakened by her worsening vision and the fact that she can't identify her pursuer. Fortunately, the plot proves to be entertaining for the majority of the running time. However, the script runs a little bit too long. There are some scenes that could have been taken out and the pacing would have moved along much smoother. The first two acts of the movie are extremely engrossing and entertaining. As the story unfolds, it finds its way into all too familiar territory with an unbelievably predictable ending. Some of the choices made by Julia are a bit infuriating as no human being with common sense would behave in some of these ways. Even when it begins predictable, there are still some intense moments that are certainly full of entertainment that will keep your eyes glued to the television screen. The beginning and middle portions of the film contain a great amount of buildup, although the final act severely hurts the overall movie.

There aren't very many characters in Julia's Eyes. While there are plenty of supporting characters, they aren't in the movie for much time. Most of them serve his or her purpose to the story and then aren't seen again. However, Julia's performance is crucial. Fortunately, the capable BelÚn Rueda plays Julia. She clearly is the right actress to play this role. Her transition into complete madness comes across as natural and offers a perfect balance of sanity and insanity to the character. The small supporting performances are fine, but Rueda clearly steals the show here.

The visuals most definitely deserve to be recognized. Julia's Eyes is a very atmospheric film. Each eerie moment of the running time is depicted to perfection utilizing the lighting, sound, camera angles, and filters. There are times where the audience is placed in the situation of Julia and we can hardly see what's going on, although we can hear what she hears. This is a creative way of developing tension and keeping viewers at the edge of his or her seat. The sound design is spectacular. The spooky noises enhance the sound stage as we hear aggressive, yet clear, audio playing through the front stage. However, this film truly shines with its atmospheric noises. The screeching doors, rain, wind, and creaks are all represented from each surround speaker.

There are certainly ups and downs to be seen in Julia's Eyes. While the visuals and acting are great, the script suffers. This hindered the film from being a much stronger horror thriller. The tension is quite good, but there are too many issues involving the screenplay to ignore. Fortunately, the substance of the atmosphere, both visually and audibly, is absolutely incredible. I'm sure that the opinion of viewers will split directly down the middle, but I feel that I lay somewhere in between the love and the hate. Julia's Eyes doesn't come close to mastering the quality of the previous films directed by Guillermo Del Toro, but it's a decent horror thriller that deserves a rental.

My Rating = Three Stars

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