29 March 2000 | Carlo Houtkamp
A Bergman film Bergman didn't make
The Eyes of the Amaryllis is a truly magnificent film. Director King Keller must have seen a lot of Ingmar Bergman films before he started on it. Or maybe Bergman was present on the set, looking over Keller's shoulder. That's not likely, but still more likely than Wes Craven's Last House on the Left (note: this is not a recommendation) being inspired by Bergman's The Virgin Spring.
The Story, about a young girl staying with her eccentric and traumatised grandmother in an old house at a coast that's littered with tragic mysteries and painful memories, makes you feel warm and comfortable and alienated and shivery at the same time. The Eyes of the Amaryllis is not a thriller, or anything like that, but imagery and plot are haunting. Ruth Ford and Martha Byrne are charismatic and well-cast. There is an undeniable chemistry between these two ladies.
Although the story is set in the late 19th century, the soundtrack consists mainly of weird electronic sounds and that really works well.
You'll enjoy watching this film best when you take the time for it, for instance when you are home alone on a dark and stormy, late October evening.