Julia's Eyes - Blu-ray Review

'there is a genuine chill here, an atmosphere created by Morales' camera, which makes you afraid of slight noises, empty rooms and absence of friends'

For the first hour, Guillem Morales' Julia's Eyes is as taut and terrifying a horror as anything else we've seen over the past few years. It's up there with The Innkeepers and The Orphanage, The Woman in Black and Let Me In. Its terror isn't simply a reliance on sudden 'cat-out-of-the-basket' jumps or loud noises, there is a genuine chill here, an atmosphere created by Morales' camera, which makes you afraid of slight noises, empty rooms and the absence of friends. For an hour, this is a Horror masterpiece.

Then, the film ends for the first time. A resolution is suggested - even though we know it is the wrong one - and the protagonist (Belén Rueda) looks to move on. The next hour, until the conclusion, is a testing one. Largely gone are the subtle chills, the quiet moments, the undercurrent of threat and in their place the contrivances come to the fore. The finale - which plays out the suggestion of invisibility as far as it will go - really stretches your fibre optic nerve of believability to breaking point, severing the suspension of disbelief in an instant.

Elsewhere, the plot stops hanging around suggestible basements and moves instead to eminently more boring hospitals and flats. It's a mistake. The atmosphere is gone in an instant and Fernando Velázquez' score (Herman without the brass in places) cranks from assaulting to annoying in the same matter of time. Julia's Eyes is a film of two halves, the first deserving of a much better mate and a narrative of tighter execution.

If Morales does one thing well throughout its in the handling of the subtext, which plays out well. There's a suggestion initially that what we're looking at here is a fear of infidelity but really its the fear of anything which we don't see - an important distinction to make from the heroine's occasional physical inability. Astounding and disappointing, in roughly equal measure, the Blu-ray transfer looks incredible and is worthy of note.



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