If there is one primal fear that horror creators have tapped into consistently over the years, it is the fear of something happening to our eyes.

Whether it be blindness and supernatural sights (Thai shocker The Eye) or a simple old eyeball impaling on a shard of wood (step forward Fulci’s Zombie Flesh Eaters), most of us have probably recoiled at the thought of anything bad inflicting our orbs.

Which is why Spanish horror/thriller Julia’s Eyes works on such a basic level, as it is almost impossible not to have empathy for the lead character Julia, played excellently by Belen Rueda.

Julia is coming to terms with the apparent suicide of her twin sister, which we see in the opening sequence of the film.

Turns out both sisters have a degenerative eye disease which gradually sees them lose their sight.

Twin Sara though was further down that road and had recently undergone an eye transplant to hopefully correct the problem.

The suicide seems a relatively open-and-shut case, but as Julia probes the death she realises that all may not be what it seems, and she may have actually been killed.

Many twists and turns follow as Julia not only has to battle the authorities and a net full of red herrings, but also her failing physical condition as she struggles to uncover the truth.

Coming with the heavyweight stamp that is ‘produced by Guillermo del Toro’, this Spanish offering is another addition to the increasing line of quality offerings heading out of that country.

Del Toro himself has described the story as part Argento and part Hitchcock, and in the capable hands of director Guillem Morales you can see where he is coming from.

The direction throughout is strong, with one set piece involving a flash-bulb camera an obvious standout.

There is an impressive air of tension throughout, aided no doubt by a strong cast that also includes Lluis Homar (as husband Issac) and Pablo Derqui.

Sadly, the first half of the film is better than the second and things do start to unravel and get a little bit silly as the plot reveals itself.

On top of that, there is a real cheeseball finale that sits uncomfortably at odds with the rest of the flick.

But, having said all that, Julia’s Eyes does so much right in the first chunk that it holds its own despite these flaws and is definitely recommended.

 

DVD Extras: Interviews with Del Toro, Morales, Rueda and Homar, B-roll and trailer

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About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.