In this review I have decided to return to my guilty pleasure of the horror genre; as of late I have been reviewing films with a more serious tone and message so hopefully this review will be more light-hearted! (Well…In my twisted sense of humour anyway!). Last night I attended a screening of two recent horror films at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre Cinema, Spanish Chiller “Julia’s Eyes” (2010) and the remake of “Mother’s Day” (2010); I have to say that the audience consisted mainly of the Abattoir Horror Festival regulars and it was a good atmosphere, more like a large group of friends just watching a couple of horror movies together and having a laugh. Anyway let’s kick off with “Julia’s Eyes”
“Julia’s Eyes” or alternatively “Los Ojos De Julia” (the Spanish title) is the first feature film to be directed by Guillem Morales. I think the film’s premise sounded really interesting and different from a lot of Horror that is out there today; however I am unable to put my finger on it but I didn’t really feel I’d gained a lot out of the film, I wasn’t particularly scared and it didn’t leave anything thought- provoking with me.
The atmosphere of the film was generally dull and this was consistent throughout. The sense of mystery within the narrative was intriguing at the beginning but as it built up for me it just became more farcical and anti-climactic; without giving too much away the fact that when the “bad guy” was allegedly caring for Julia (played by Belen Rueda) he was shot so the audience could not see his face until nearer to the end and appeared as more of a shadowy figure, therefore the surprise element was slightly disappointing as where the plot was heading became too obvious and resulted in a long drawn out cat and mouse game; then again I think the director just wanted to emphasise that the audience was seeing things through Julia’s point of view.
The scares in the film were expected and predictable, dramatic music was used as it is in a lot of horror films in order to heighten the tension but instead of leading the audience to what they don’t expect, the film just threw scares at us that we could see coming. Admittedly what I liked about the film was the main character, I liked that Julia was portrayed as a strong, determined heroine and that her character goes against the horror cliché of the “weak blonde victim”, her character is also likeable and easy to empathise with. For the majority of the film it felt like it fit into the thriller genre rather than horror and it wasn’t very gore focused which I liked as I have previously stated in other reviews the less the audience sees the more effective it is.
I occasionally enjoy films that build up slowly and save the gore till the very end; in that sense the film reminded me a little bit of Takashi Mike’s “Audition” (2000); however the scene in question was more uncomfortable rather than over the top but just seemed pointless and used for shock value than having relevance. Unfortunately after building itself up fairly well the film failed for me on the fact that once we meet “the killer” it didn’t seem to know what it wanted to do or where it was going to end and a lot could have been cut out; the plot felt very out of control. Many would agree that the ending concluded the film on a strange note; I suppose it ended hopeful for the protagonist; however it was overly cheesy and I felt like I was watching some weird Sci-Fi film, the tone separated itself massively from the rest of what we had just viewed. So “Julia’s Eyes”, a decent and interesting premise, a strong and well written main character and I admire that it decided to be different by having a blind woman as the protagonist; the film did fail on many levels, there were too many cliché’s and obvious twists and it consistently felt as if something was lacking.