- Belen Rueda as Julia/Sara
- Lluis Homar as Isaac
- Pablo Derqui as Ivan
Guillem Morales directs Julia’s Eyes, a spine chilling Spanish horror/thriller that keeps the nerves jangled for a long time. Boasting a compelling performance from Belen Rueda, the film is the kind you need to watch with the lights off for maximum impact.
Julia is a young woman married to Isaac. She suffers from a degenerative eye condition that is aggravated by emotional stress. Julia’s twin sister Sara, who she has recently become estranged from, suffers from the same disease but she has now gone completely blind. When Sara is found hanged in her basement, the initial verdict by the police is that Sara took her own life. Julia refuses to believe that her sister committed suicide even though everyone else seems to think so. She is convinced there is something more to her sister’s death and she sets out to uncover the truth. As she continues to search, her eyesight begins to worsen and she is pursued by an unseen man who may hold the secret to Sara’s death. But can Julia unearth the truth before she completely loses her sight altogether? Mysterious circumstances and red herrings a plenty keep Julia’s Eyes a creepy thriller with horror elements that has guessing the outcome for a long time.
Guillem Morales captures the nature of Julia’s fear by using shadows and point of view shots. As an audience, we are placed in Julia’s dangerous position as her eyes begin to worsen from her endless search for the truth. Through blurred and disoriented angles and lenses, we begin to pick up on various unusual events surrounding Sara’s death at the same time as the determined Julia. The music provided adds to the eerie mystery that Julia finds herself engulfed in. The pace of the film is relatively successful in keeping the shocks coming, only in the last act does the pacing hit a snag. Morales doesn’t manage to manoeuvre his way around some horror clichés, but he sets up some genuinely unnerving scenes of terror that really make for nail-biting viewing. These include Julia chasing her unknown attacker through a basement that is plunged into darkness and Julia finding her way to a neighbour’s house with the assistance of a long strand of rope as someone watches her.
Belen Rueda, who turned in a highly powerful performance in The Orphanage, contributes an equally compelling performance in this film that adds to the strength of Julia’s Eyes. In almost every scene, she is riveting to watch as she imbues Julia with a quiet vulnerability and determined strength as she edges closer to losing her eyesight because of the stress she is under in finding the truth. Rueda’s performance is so good that many of her co-stars are not given enough to do to make their characters interesting enough.
Minor flaws aside, Julia’s Eyes makes for chilling viewing because of the cinematography and the transfixing performance of Belen Rueda in the title role.