With the recent, apparent, suicide of her twin sister, Julia is determined to discover the truth behind her blind sibling’s death. Isaac, Julia’s husband, has trouble coming to terms with a possible murder case and tries to restrict the determination of Julia. With Julia’s eye sight becoming increasingly impaired, she must race against time to unravel the interesting evidence and start to see what really transpired.
The film plunges into a chilling scene where Sara (Julia’s sister) is terrified of an elusive figure. With a noose around her neck, she resists taking her life, yet is murdered by a devious photographer. Fast paced and gripping, the opening to Julia’s Eyes will instantly have your heart racing, creating the suspense you’ll be holding on to throughout the film and a snapshot of what to expect. The plot is unique and compelling, perfect for the horror genre, although there are certain elements that remain confusing and perhaps unnecessary, yet does not snag too much away from the film. Credit to Guillem Morales and Oriol Paulo for creating a beautifully written screenplay with frights, twists and passion around every corner.
Morales, also director, uses some stunning shots involving subtle techniques that aren’t straight up obvious. This creates a deeper sense for our protagonist’s feelings and situation. Furthermore, the loss of visual sense was enhanced through perceiving the world through Julia’s perspective (first person), with darkened, hazy shots. However, a drawback from this creative idea was the overuse of such shots that became tedious towards the midpoint. The most spectacular moment of the film was at the end of the second act. A pitch black screen complimented with a flash of a camera appearing every 2 seconds within the climax, which although hurts your eyes (pretty much having a camera flash go off in your face repeatedly), can be argued to show the ongoing visual impairing theme.
Gory and graphic, Julia’s Eyes will have you squirming. If you’re uncomfortable with the visual of a knife through the face, then you’ll gouge your eyes out when you witness a needle penetrate an eyeball (80% sure it’s visual effects…). At this point, you’ll probably notice the viewing audience turn away and scream! Cinematography is a key element to such a visually remarkable film, and the use of darkness and light are used effectively. Belén Rueda’s (The Orphanage) performance as Julia/Sara is believable throughout and cast perfectly, however Lluís Homar didn’t seem right and the lack of character information, plus depth, made the character (Isaac) unappealing. The little depth of Sara’s 3 neighbours also seemed to be lacking sadly.
Julia’s Eyes is certainly a film to watch this summer. Exciting and suspenseful, you are bound to enjoy this Spanish horror. Although a slightly slow start, you’ll become immersed within the first 30 minutes and start investigating possibilities from the very beginning.