After finding her sister Sara dead after an apparent suicide, Julia starts to lose her vision. Suffering with a genetic disorder, Julia’s vision rapidly starts to deteriorate. Trying to investigate the death of Sara, Julia finds that the circumstances are more complicated than they originally seemed. The further Julia delves, the more danger she puts herself in…
The premise of Julia’s Eyes is perfectly fine for a thriller; it is the execution that lets the film down. Guillem Morales’ film lacks the sense of apprehension that a movie of this nature requires. The main reason for this is that the film is simply too long. Julia’s Eyes could have easily been trimmed by twenty minutes, and would have probably have been a more effective thriller as a result.
The idea of a person losing their vision over a course of days is quite interesting. Julia’s Eyes deals with this idea too messily, however, and tries to inject more strands than is necessary. The inclusion of a character that supposedly cannot be seen is again rather interesting, but the film never explores this theme in sufficient detail. Additionally, there are a number of ideas that are touched upon, but that never amount to anything. Some of the twists that occur do not make any sense, and seem to veer off too far on a tangent from the central narrative.
Julia’s Eyes features plenty of red herrings in order to try and maintain audience interest. The actual reveal is protracted, flitting away the tension that had been building. This section of the film features a particularly good scene where Julia is placed in a very perilous situation. However, it simply takes too long to get to this point. Moreover, the film declines further and further into incredulous territory with every minute that passes. It is unfathomable, for example, that Julia would recuperate at her sister’s house after her terrifying ordeal. The film requires a suspension of disbelief, to say the least.
Performances are good overall in Julia’s Eyes. Belén Rueda is convincing as both Julia and Sara. She embodies both characters, looking natural despite their different appearances. The film uses lighting very effectively, and there are some fantastic shots from cinematographer Óscar Faura.
Being sold on producer Guillermo del Toro’s name, fans may expect something a little more from Julia’s Eyes. Hopefully Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark will be more satisfying.