User Reviews (58)

  • DogFilmCritic4 May 2015
    7/10
    Walking in the dark
    The Spanish horror cinema is one of the big surprises of recent years. The orphanage, and less-in measure-REC REC 2 showed signs of the vitality of a genre that scares when it comes forward with a Spanish accent.

    Julia's Eyes is a psychological thriller where a woman who is going blind in the middle of her job has the sensation that she is being strangled after that she shortly receives news that her sister who is already blind due to both having a genetic illness they both share, committed suicide (the myth that twins,can feel when something happens to his/her sibling at the same time)which is never brought again in the film,Julia who knew her sister pretty well knows that it wasn't a suicide but murder instead.

    This is an excellent hook for a thriller that, relatively speaking, could be related more with old mysteries of Alfred Hitchcock or the early films of Dario Argento.In fact it would not be unusual for Alone in the Dark (1967), Terrence Young film with Audrey Hepburn would have represented some influence in this story, as they have some points in common.

    The tension in the film is produced by great acting specially from Belen Rueda, the strong band and effectiveness of the sound effects,angle shots framing( there's a brilliant technique in the middle of the film that gives an idea on how a blind person interacts with someone that they can not see), photography, and the locations. it has some minor flaws in the plot but above all its a terrific film to enjoy
  • rowiko12 February 2011
    8/10
    Surprisingly good!
    I watched this movie on the plane the other day, trying to find something to keep me awake (as sleep on an airplane never leaves you rested, but merely with a stiff body).

    What I saw was, however - to my positive surprise - much more than just something to pass time, as I actually enjoyed it a lot.

    I find the plot quite fascinating and very original, and it has, with its unpredictability, more than just a few surprises in store. Granted, there are a few inconsistencies with the storyline, but I didn't see them as a big problem, as the movie, as a whole, works.

    All in all, a really good horror thriller, which keeps you guessing till the very end.
  • chomiqu28 November 2011
    5/10
    average
    Warning: Spoilers
    Let me start with the GOOD POINTS: 1) Good leading actors who acted naturally and were credible. Although I felt that the too much focus was givem to the actress's cleavage. She is a beautiful woman. There s no need to get viewer's attention to something else than her face.

    2) Nice, dark atmosphere and surroundings.

    3) Feeling of desperation, fear - needed in horror.

    BAD:

    1) The ending. Too much of a coincidence and twists (blind neighbour's secret - why would she do that, mother-son situation)

    2) Mystery man who followed her (Why would he do that? Especially as he couldn't know she was going blind at first)

    3) Affair thing - very unconvincing for me

    4) Her husband's suicide - not exactly explained. How could this thin man hang him? If it was him? Or why would her husband kill himself? Out of guilt? I don't get that.

    5) Lea girl and her weird behavior. Couldn;t she warn Julia just after she went out of her father's house. Why wait and braek into somebody's house?

    So, not exactly a good movie, although seems so at the beginning.
  • Spikeopath1 November 2013
    8/10
    Bellavista Blindness.
    Los ojos de Julia (Julia's Eyes) is directed by Guillem Morales who also co-writes the screenplay with Oriol Paulo. It stars Belen Rueda, Lluis Homar and Julia Gutierrez Caba. Music is by Fernando Velazquez and cinematography by Oscar Faura.

    After her blind twin sister mysteriously hangs, Julia (Rueda) refuses to accept it as suicide and begins to investigate the events herself. Unfortunately she is also becoming afflicted by the same degenerative eyesight that affected her sister. Can she solve the case before here eyesight completely fails? Can she stay alive, even, especially as dark forces appear to be closing in on her.

    There has been some rather nifty horror movies come out of Spain in the last ten years or so, Julia's Eyes is another welcome addition off of the production line. The blind/eyes afflicted girl in peril formula is hardly new, with very good formula spookers already existing having come out of Asia and America, how nice to find that this Spanish entry is as good as any of them.

    Guillermo Del Toro is once again on producing duty, continuing his crusade to give upcoming Spanish horror directors their chance in movie world. OK! So it's not unfair to say that many a horror fan would like to see Del Toro directing such material himself, but his presence is felt here, where much like El Orfanato (The Orphanage) the atmosphere that pervades the picture is Del Toroesque.

    Julia's Eyes is very much a blending of thriller conventions, where it deals in psychological discord, slasher traits and whodunit mystery shenanigans. Mix them up with dashes of Gothic and Giallo and you are good to go for edge of your seat/breath holding entertainment. Thematic thrust comes by way of viewer voyeurism, and some scenes are macabre in construction, with one involving blind girls in a locker room really tingling the gooseflesh.

    The colour scheme ranges from misty tinted coldness to tech-noir starkness, and the sound work is terrific, especially once Julia is handicapped by her bandaged eyes and we the audience need to buy into her dangerously dark world. Camera techniques, also are smart, with Morales cleverly not showing us the faces of those interacting with Julia once her eyes fail her, again this puts us in her world.

    At nearly two hours in length, film is a touch too long, which when you consider there is no real great character development to speak of, is a bit annoying. However, this is about atmosphere and a genuine chill factors, a picture that gnaws away at the senses throughout and leads us to a poignant finale. Rueda, just as she was in The Orphanage, is terrific, and Julia's Eyes, much like The Orphanage, is also terrific. 8.5/10
  • rhill-2712 September 2010
    7/10
    Original idea with conventional pitfalls.
    I watched the Julia's Eyes world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival a couple of days ago, and I have to say that although I was entertained, it did fall short of my expectations. Seeing how the film was produced by Guillermo del Toro, I was really hoping for a horror/thriller on par with Pans Labyrinth or The Orphanage.

    Julia's Eyes does have an original idea at its core and that's what keeps you guessing and entertained through the duration of the film. Unfortunately the film does fall into some cliché horror jump scares and the plot does not completely come together. It feels as though the filmmaker started with a great idea but wasn't fully able to pull it all together cohesively in the end. I want to keep this review spoiler free so I'm not going to get into any plot details, but suffice to say that the antagonist's plot line does not come to a rewarding conclusion.

    That said, I think there is a lot to like here, the acting is great, some wholly original ideas are explored and there is enough tense and truly scary scenes to keep most horror/thriller fans happy.

    Julia's Eyes is a film I enjoyed on the whole and I think people should seek out.
  • Argemaluco18 March 2011
    7/10
    Entertaining, but not totally satisfactory
    Foremost, I am going to allow myself the indulgent whim of an editorial comment in order to express my disgust for the phrase: "(insert the name of a famous director) presents". In many movies (specially, from the fantastic genre, and even more specially when they were made by unknown directors), we have seen that tricky phrase before the title, like announcing the fact that a famous director was responsible for the film we are about to see. I perfectly understand the commercial utility from that ruse; and I imagine that many young and unknown directors can tolerate the humiliation of the semi-anonymity in exchange of the economical potential which represents the "approval" from a famous director. But even like that, I still think that that is a cheap trick which, above all things, has the "accidental" consequence of fooling to the spectators. I do not know about you, but I know many people who still think that The Nightmare Before Christmas was directed by Tim Burton, or that Guillermo del Toro directed El Orfanato, or that Hostel was directed by Quentin Tarantino. Is that an important problem? I guess it is not. That may not even reach the "problem" category. And I really do not have any solution or suggestion in order to solve the situation. After all, that is another necessary evil from marketing in order to attract more people to the cinema, or to sell more DVDs. But still, that is not enough for me to like it. End of the editorial comment.

    I had been thinking all that because Los Ojos de Julia is another film "presented" by a famous director, in this case, the previously mentioned del Toro. I highly doubt the fact that he had a real influence in the making of this film, but his name prominently appears in this film's publicity. Anyway, I think that that simultaneously is an advantage and a disadvantage, because even though that may make more people to see this film, many of them might expect one of the many supernatural fantasies full of special effects that that director uses to make, when the truth is that Los Ojos de Julia is a thriller with slight supernatural touches which may result too modest to the people who might expected to see Hellboy 3 or Pan's Labyrinth 2.

    I liked the first half from Los Ojos de Julia very much. The screenplay raises a fascinating and unpredictable mystery, which genuinely kept me in suspense during that while, because it was impossible for me to predict where the story was going. The previously mentioned "supernatural touches" are very well achieved, and they never reach the tiring extremes of "ghost woman with a long black hair" or "vengeful spirit from the past". In fact, there are various elements in order for us to doubt about the existence of supernatural factors in the story, because Guillem Morales' direction keeps on that thin line between the realism and the fantasy, with a lot of atmosphere but at the same time "real". However, all that does not avoid Los Ojos de Julia from having some clichés, from the chases through dark underground corridors which seem ten times longer of the building they are in, to the mysterious old man who warns the main character on the danger she runs if she keeps investigating, without forgetting about the unbelievers policemen who do not take the desperate theories from the main character seriously.

    Speaking of which, Belén Rueda makes an excellent work on her dual role of Sara and Julia (even though she only appears as Sara for a few minutes). Her performance is even more appreciated during the second half of the movie, when the tense initial narrative starts to crumble with a sudden twist to the melodrama, anchoring the movie into a much more predictable and conventional formula, which we have already seen in too many North American movies. Fortunately, that did not avoid Rueda from keeping the necessary energy and conviction in order to make that second half entertaining and lead us to an appropriate, but somewhat corny, ending. Anyway, I think it is a shame the fact that Los Ojos de Julia betrayed its excellent first half with a poor second one, but it still has enough positive elements to recommend it, like Rueda's performance, the good atmosphere and the fact that it is entertaining.
  • daffy20100417 July 2011
    7/10
    Julia's Eyes a very sophisticated thriller
    This was actually a pleasant surprise. I liked the beginning because it could of went the supernatural way or the other. The first half kinda toys with you about the death of Julia's sister and keeps you guessing where this is going to go. The setting and the good of this film is very good because it is very scary and tense. There is this great scene where Julia was in the bathroom with the other blinds and they "sensed" something which I won't reveal. I loved that this film was not predictable like the other mindless horror/thriller films. This film has believable twists, not just something out the blue or for shock. I believe that this film works because of the actress. She carried the movie very well. I actually liked her character which is hard to do in horror films. I actually liked the chemistry between Julia and her husband..it wasn't cheesy or over the top...it was very endearing. I loved the ending....She was actually smart and very real. Go check this out and you won't regret it!
  • Corpus_Vile5 May 2011
    7/10
    Good, but could have been great
    Julia, (Belen Rueda) like her twin sister Sara suffers from a degenerative nerve disease which is slowly but surely turning her blind, with her twin having succumbed to total blindness earlier. When her sister dies, apparently of a suicide, Julia feels there's something not quite right. Her sister wasn't depressed, and in fact had been looking forward to a potentially curable operation. Plus, there's rumours of Sara having had a mysterious boyfriend. But why didn't he go the funeral? Doubted by her Psychologist husband Isaacs (Lluis Homar) Julia resolves to investigate. But her disease is getting worse, and she keeps feeling that somebody is watching her every move. Is she cracking up? Or is something more sinister at play here?

    Julia's Eyes starts off very promising indeed, with a gripping first hour, as director Guillem Morales ratchets up the tension with some clever visual tricks and an increasingly dark and creepy tone, as well as some entertaining red herrings.

    However, by the third act, it unfortunately gets kinda... silly. It also unfortunately has a rather ludicrous revelation, as well as some clichéd bad decision making on the part of the protagonist. It also could have been a leaner affair, being rather needlessly overlong.

    As well as this, the film doesn't really cover all the elements of its rather layered plot as well as it could have, with one or two loose ends that will very probably have the viewer raising a suspicious eyebrow.

    That having said, it has some decent performances, is pretty absorbing and again, has a nigh on excellent first half.

    Any horror or chiller fan should find much to like here, but ultimately it comes across as rather dissatisfying, considering its ambition.

    7/10- A solid enough film, that's worth checking out overall, but potentially could have been excellent.
  • pradiptadas19823 June 2013
    8/10
    Mindblowing Thriller
    Watched "Julia's Eyes" Original Title-(Los Ojos de Julia)-

    I got this movie in my collection from one of my Friend's collection. It's a ? Spanish Movie which I got with English subtitles. When yesterday I selected this movie to watch I had no idea what kind of movie it was and so I also had no expectations from it. Just knew that it's a movie of different language, different genre so may be there would be something new but when the Movie started I just jumped out from my chair. It was really a spine chilling moment which grabbed my whole attention towards the movie and this attention remained as such throughout the movie. Every Scene, short dialogues, murder clues, every drama I was just enjoying by watching repeatedly with the help of the rewind button of my laptop.

    The movie started with the mysterious death of Sara. She was found hanging in the basement of her own house where she lived alone. She was blind due to a degenerative disease of her eyes. Police tried to loosening the case thinking that she was committed suicide because of loneliness and depression but her twin sister Julia, who was also suffering from the same degenerative disease in her eyes and rapidly deteriorating her sights didn't believe that it was a suicide. While doing her own way of searching the mystery of her sister's death Julia came to know that Sara was undergone a surgery on her eyes with the hope of regaining her sight. Also she found some clues of a mysterious boyfriend of Sara. Simultaneously with the run someone always tried to swipe away all the data, clues and even murdered the persons who knew anything about the case.

    The first one hour was so intense, so twists n turns that one could not made an idea in which way the movie was going. Last 30 mins there was also a brilliant Cat- Mouse duel between Julia and the murderer.

    After watching the movie I read from the internet that it was the same team- actress (Belen Rueda), producer (Guillermo Del Toro), musician (Fernando Velazquez), cameraman (Oscar Faura) - who made "Orphanage" previously. The same team again delivered an Intelligent, Tight gripped, spine chilling thriller which is original in its nature. Regarding acting everyone was brilliant. Belen Rueda was in a dual role in this movie (Sara n Julia). She was just terrifying throughout the movie. You can just watch this movie only for her acting if you keep every other things apart. Cinematography was brilliant in every part. Script writing, direction, technique with playing light n shadow just compel you to tighten your sit belt throughout the movie.

    On a whole Guillermo Del Toro was again delivered a movie which was surprisingly good and taught everyone what the definition of a thriller is.

    A MUST SEE for every thriller movie lovers.
  • d_in_chi6 April 2014
    7/10
    An enjoyable, highly unpredictable thriller
    A respectable blend of drama and horror, using strengths of both but also succumbing occasionally to the weaknesses.

    Suspense is present from the very beginning, building to an exciting and unexpected climax, unfortunately falling a bit flat afterward. In fact, the last 30 seconds of the film somewhat blemish the drama of the story as a whole, mostly because the ending touches on a relationship that was hardly explored and not at all significant through the rest of the film, partly because of the focus on the very thing that makes this movie good: the constant twists and turns in the story. This also leads to some ideas that are passable but don't make nearly as much sense as they're supposed to; particularly the whole "people who aren't seen"/"There was no man with her (Sara)"/"Don't look at me!" motif. I still don't get it, but it has little impact on the story anyway.

    I believe the entirety of the story could have used some fine tuning, and run time could have been trimmed by 10 to 15 minutes... But overall it's engaging, well acted, and sets an excellent and fitting mood visually. Thrillers that can't project the protagonist's experience to the viewer fail horribly... this movie does an outstanding job providing a sense of confinement that fits the title character's world, and this is where its greatest strength lies.

    Although character relationships are a bit thin and suspense doesn't hit many high notes, this is a fairly exciting thrill ride and a good effort all around. One last thing, I would recommend watching it without distraction... the mood is more visual and in the flow of the story than it is intellectual or suspenseful, and it's easy to lose interest if you step away for a few minutes.
  • Coventry25 April 2011
    8/10
    Now she sees you, now she don't
    I'm usually very cautious with my expectations towards Spanish horror/thrillers, especially if they look a little supernatural-themed and receive a lot of praise from beforehand. "Julia's Eyes" showed these characteristics, what with being produced by golden boy Guillermo Del Toro and all, but since it played at the Belgian Festival of Fantastic Films I still definitely wanted to see it. I'm glad to say "Julia's Eyes" is a tense and well-scripted thriller that is rather straightforward in its shocks and horror, rather than exaggeratedly suggestive and ghostly. It has been proved in the past that thrillers with blind female protagonists can scare quite effectively. The ravishing Belén Rueda joins the good company of Mia Farrow in "See No Evil" and Audrey Hepburn in "Wait Until Dark"; blind or narrowly blind damsels in distress who nevertheless fight back courageously. Julia suffers from a rare hereditary ailment which slowly but surely causes her to go blind. In order not to accelerate the forthcoming blindness, Julia must avoid all sorts of emotional stress. That's easier said than done, of course, especially when she discovers that her twin sister Sarah – who struggled with the same disease – committed suicide in the basement of her house. Julia refuses to accept that her sister solely killed herself because the eye operation failed and begins to dig into her private life, much against the will of her devoted husband Isaac. Julia discovers the existence of a mysterious and invisible man in Sarah's life, someone who may have drove her to commit suicide or even killed her. But then Julia collapses and loses her vision. The operation to save her sight is performed, but the first few weeks she'll have to live in darkness though with the help of a private nurse. It is during this period that Julia experiences exactly what her sister went through during her final moments…

    The plot of "Julia's Eyes" is quite convoluted, with many characters that each have their own peculiarities and secrets. Nevertheless, director & co-writer Guillem Morales knows to maintain the suspense at a continuously high level and – even more importantly – the fear remains realistic and almost sensible. Especially the sequences taking place in the first few days after Julia's operation, when the audience is supposed to be as blind as the heroine herself, are extremely tense and unsettling. It's also during this period that the script contains a few harsh and totally unexpected shock moments that will surprise even the most experienced horror fanatics. During the last half hour, "Julia's Eyes" drops all allures of being a superior & sophisticated thinking man's thriller and literally turns into an old-fashioned bona-fide horror flick with nasty images and grotesque plot twists. I thought it was fantastic! The acting performances are terrific, with Belén Rueda basically deserving an Oscar for her role and Lluis Homar and Pablo Derqui providing excellent support. Highly recommended
  • jcmf2721 March 2011
    8/10
    great movie! and original story.. a lot of suspense
    Warning: Spoilers
    i just saw the movie its has a great acting by Belén Rueda, this is my first time writing about a movie especially a foreign one, during the whole movie you will be waiting for what is next to unsolved all the mysteries surrounding julia's sister apparent suicide. in my opinion the movie needs some editing work,cut some unnecessary scenes that may confuse the viewers,by the middle you have to pay a lot of attention because it is easy to get lost in the plot, i also believe that the movie last a little bit to long but in the end you start to gather all the pieces together and make your own conclusion i really enjoy the movie and sure you won't be disappointed!!
  • diexmydarling12 February 2012
    9/10
    Fairly original and creepy thriller.
    I watched this not knowing exactly what to expect, due to the mixed reviews. While it is slow ISH to burn (at about 2 hrs length), I felt like it offered enough twists and turns along the way to keep you very engaged and on the edge of your seat. I felt like the storyline was quite original, and the movie does a great job of showing how Julia loses her sight over time, with certain scenes done from her point of view. All the actors play their parts very well (rare among most thrillers I feel). I watch a lot of horror/thriller movies, and while this isn't a horror movie, it definitely scared me! Contrary to other reviewers, I actually really enjoyed the ending. It's quite moving and goes very well with the story. Overall, a recommended view for anyone into a good thriller with 2 hrs on their hands.
  • krs_sn22 May 2011
    8/10
    nice one
    The leading lady Belen Rueda is gorgeous....this is what captured my attention to begin with. She is a pretty good actress, very expressive and convincing and the supporting cast is very good too. The movie is set in a small village in Spain and the visuals are very believable and the lighting decor etc is natural and free of gaudy colours as usually seeing in Hollywood flicks. The first half of the movie has palpable tension,there are many scary moments in the movie. Alas the last 20 minutes were not up to the mark...it was as if the rest was so majestic that there was no good way to end it all. In short a Spanish original film(subtitled),not the typical puerile slasher type Hollywood teen nonsense. Either watch and enjoy the original or wait for Hollywood to bring out a dumbed out version in a year.
  • ma-cortes13 October 2011
    6/10
    Mystery , terror , intrigue about a woman losing the sight and her mysterious blind twin sister
    The same team - actress (Belen Rueda),producer (Guillermo Del Toro) , musician (Fernando Velazquez) , cameraman (Oscar Faura)- who made ¨The orphanage¨ bring us another terror film , ¨The Julia's eyes¨ or ¨Los Ojos de Julia¨ . And again a wonderful Belen Rueda as semi-blind woman in a movie with intense sequences of horror and suspense . The story deals with a mature woman named Julia (Belen Rueda in a double role) married a psychologist (Luis Homar) , she is slowly losing her vision by a degenerative ill whilst attempting to investigate the mysterious death of her twin sister named Sara (Belen Rueda) , also blind , who supposedly committed suicide . An old woman (Julia Gutierrez Caba) leads her to Baumann Center where Sara had relations to other blind women . Later on , finding alone in a house is terrorized by strange events . She is pursued by a psycho but can't hide in the dark . This is a highly suspenseful and cerebral mystery that tells about a woman losing his sight and being helped by his husband . It's a battle of wits between an intelligent almost blind woman and an evil villain and winds up pitting two rival, the obstinate blind woman and the brutal psycho against each other in order to save herself and destroy them both.

    The film contains tension , thriller, drama , mystery , plot twists and shocks , including decent scares with tense terror sequences especially in its final part , in a creepy denouement , near of the end with a crazy killer trying to murder her . The picture is thrilling and some moment brilliant, and the actors are quite reliable as Belen Rueda , Luis Homar and special appearance by veteran Julia Gutierrez Caba . Although is sometimes slow moving and stagy , however is entertaining for continuous suspense . Belen Rueda is sensational in one of her best films along with ¨El Orfanato¨ . Sinister and mysterious atmosphere is finely photographed by cameraman Oscar Faura . Suspenseful and stirring musical score by Fernando Velazquez who previously composed for successful terror films as ¨The orphanage¨ , ¨For the God of others¨ and ¨Devil¨ . The film is well produced by the great producer/director Guillermo Del Toro . The motion picture is professionally written and directed by Guillen Morales who formerly realized ¨The uninvited guest¨ also dealing with violent confrontation among two characters . The movie will appeal to suspense enthusiasts and Belen Rueda fans. Rating : acceptable and passable . It's well worth watching and contains some really eerie scares and disturbing images .
  • Checkeador9 November 2010
    9/10
    A Great Surprise!! (Spanish Production ¡Chapó!)
    When I saw this movie advertised on TV in Spain, initially not appealed to me because lately not much confidence in the cinema Spanish and was in other movies, but even so, I received views friends, friends of friends very good about this movie then I decided to go with my girlfriend to see it.

    To say that the argument is original, who escapes a little line this type of conventional films and at first always think the director or the division not know how to develop good idea so original, but in this case if they know it, the whole team.

    It is a film that is on the rise goes up goes up comes a explosion and remains, then drops suddenly at its end.

    I have had with the eyes open (pun intended) of the few films of Spanish production that had me clutching the chair throughout the film.

    It is noted that Belen Rueda is a veteran of the movie, because it overboard in every scene with his experience, olé for her.

    Cast veterans, many quality performances, they know pass and get into the story of the film and come to pass suffering that the protagonist suffers.

    A film really worth seeing in the movies and spend a couple of euros for it, and lose more than a sense of time it because the film is "long" but it seems that engaging only takes "5 minutes".

    In short, a director who knows how to develop and direct this film original argument, sharing experience, which ensured that this whole movie in tension (a healthy tension) and with a few turns unexpected throughout the film that make it more attractive for the viewer. an olé!
  • Claudio Carvalho26 November 2011
    6/10
    Atmospheric but Flawed and Misguider Film
    After the death of the blind Sara (Belén Rueda), who hung herself in the basement of he house, her twin sister Julia (Belén Rueda) suspects that she was actually murdered. Julia has a degenerative problem in her eyes and is losing her sight and she temporarily moves with her husband Isaac (Lluís Homar) to Sara's house to arrange her funeral. Julia goes to the Centro Baumann for blinds where Sara frequented and she learns from the others blind users that Sara had a boyfriend.

    Julia is chased by a mysterious man but the police inspector Dimas (Francesc Orella) does not believe on her. Julia follows the last steps of Sara trying to find the identity of her secret lover. Julia is surrounded by deaths and weird events while she loses her sight. Is she also delusional?

    "Los Ojos de Julia" is an atmospheric film but flawed and misguider. The director gives the sensation of a supernatural story and ends like a "giallo" blended with "Blind Terror". The name of Guillermo del Toro, who is the producer, is also used to mislead the viewers. Belén Rueda has a magnificent performance; the cinematography and the camera work are excellent; the plot is intriguing; but the resolution is very disappointing. My vote is six.

    Title (Brazil): "Os Olhos de Júlia" ("The Eyes of Julia")
  • upgraiden28 August 2013
    8/10
    Creative And Well-Written
    I'm always skeptical of horror films which use consistent jumpscares to frighten the audience instead of more honest, creative methods. Happily, Julia's eyes contains a grand total of one jumpscare, meaning the rest of the film had to find another way of being scary, and I'm happy to report that it didn't disappoint. This has to be one of the only films that has genuinely creeped me out, and it's down to the excellent writing, directing and production. Unfortunately, I can't say that about many other horror films these days.

    I only came across this film by chance as it was on television one night. I decided to give it a go, which turned out to be a pretty good decision. This is now one of my favourites in the horror genre - brilliantly written and gripping all the way through.
  • Maz Murdoch (asda-man)10 November 2012
    9/10
    Couldn't believe mine!
    Wow! When I saw Julia's Eyes for £3 in Morrisons the other day, I thought I may as well buy it, as it's something I've had my eye on for years and eventually forgotten about, probably due to the mediocre reviews. So I was expecting something of a mediocre film. What I wasn't expecting was another Spanish horror classic that was packed with nail-biting suspense and masterful direction. Either I'm a fool, or Julia's Eyes is one of the most under-rated horror films of its year!

    Julia's Eyes opens extremely strongly with the murder of her sister and from then on it just gets better and better. You know you're in for a superb ride, right from the beginning as it shows off some outstanding cinematography and directional flare, which the film only builds up right until the terrific climax! What Julia's Eyes does well for the first half is establish characters and relationships which is a thing most American horror films do poorly. In fact, the first half doesn't seem like it belongs much in the horror genre at all, which isn't a bad thing because the third act more than makes up for it. Besides, the characters are so well established and likable you're likely not to care. Belen Rueda puts on another fantastic performance, she's extremely believable as a blind woman and also makes herself very likable.

    The first half acts more as an engaging mystery thriller with Belen investigating her sister's so-called suicide, much to her husband's disappointment. There are some excellent stand-out moments such as a wonderful POV murder where no one notices the man fleeing the scene. It adds a supremely thick air of mystery and another dimension to the films themes. It's as much about loneliness than anything else.

    Things become extremely disorientating once Julia becomes inevitably blind and it works very effectively to the film's advantage. We never see anyone else's face once she becomes blind so everyone becomes a suspect as the audience loses their sight as much as Julia does. The remainder of the film simply doesn't let go and becomes a thrilling and frantic fight for survival. By the end of it I felt worn out and also highly satisfied. Morales builds up heaps and heaps of tension and suspense, he could easily give Hitchcock a run for his money! I was squirming in my seat, shouting at the TV and gasping. All these are signs of a highly effective and masterful shocker.

    In some of it you feel as confused and paranoid as Julia does. And whilst the identity and motives of the killer may not be all that incredible, he's still very creepy and believable. There are some fantastic chase sequences and never-ending tension. It builds up to an exciting finale, to which you might need to find your breath back. Yes, Julia's Eyes may not be up there with The Orphanage or REC but it's not damn far! It's a solid horror/thriller which made me feel involved and entertained. There isn't much gore, but it certainly doesn't hold back when it needs to and also includes possibly the ballsiest eye squirming sequence since Zombie Flesh Eaters. Julia's Eyes is a Spanish masterpiece. It looks great and also has enough depth to make you feel involved. I'd highly recommend, you might find yourself s surprised as I was!
  • lemur-pants26 May 2011
    8/10
    tense times
    Warning: Spoilers
    Julias Eyes was one of the tensest movies I have seen in a long time. I left the cinema truly scared of the shadows, but that is what i was expecting when i went in.

    I am of two minds about the film. It was both very well and very badly done. The story itself was quite a muddle with many characters popping in with seemingly meaningful parts to just be forgotten about in the midst of the mayhem. The story lines that did pull through til the end were amazing. The scenes shot where Julia was losing her sight were great, making such good use of shadows to create a fear of the unknown. Also the cuts to pure darkness created a lot of suspense and sympathy for Julia.

    It was frustrating the lack of sympathy and understanding the authorities gave to Julia in her situation. And also the gaping lack of friends or relatives she seemed to have. Many of the characters were very strange particularly the old man in the basement of the hotel who wouldn't tell her who the killer was, Lia and her dad.... "he is just lonely and your attractive" what a totally relevant excuse to try to rape a distraught blind lady who had just been attacked in her house. And Lia stealing the key and then hanging it up in her hallway!?!?! The killer was a great character with that intense flash camera hiding so easily and always being one step ahead, seemingly predicting her every move makes a great horror protagonist. Although, her decision to go home to her sisters house following her operation (actually heard a few laughs in the cinema) and the subsequent arrival of her 'carer' Ivan made it all very obvious who the bad guy was.

    I think it is only my love for scary movies that lets me cover the massive holes in this movie and leave me with mostly positive recollections. I don't know that Guillermo Del Toro really needed to "present" this film, I think it could have done well enough on its own steam especially with Belen Rueda as the lead.
  • TdSmth54 January 2012
    7/10
    Enjoyable but weaknesses stand out.
    Warning: Spoilers
    In the intro, a blind woman named Sara is pursued by some man. It looks like she's about to commit suicide, but then the man "helps" her to her death.

    Sara's sister is Julia. She arrives at the house and refuses to believe that Sara committed suicide even though that's what everyone concluded. Julia also suffers from the same unspecified ocular condition that causes progressive blindness. At the beginning of the movie, Julia has 70% vision, a few minutes later she is completely blind.

    She sets out to investigate on her own what happened to Sara and hears from other blind woman about Sara's boyfriend. Yet no one else seems to have seen or known about this invisible man. Except for a hotel's custodian who tells her there is indeed a man who projects no light/life/spark. Julia herself now is being chased by this invisible man. Her loving husband doesn't believe any of it until he finally agrees to help her, disappears, and then his corpse is found hanging in Sara's house- another "clear" case of suicide according to cops. In her search she meets various strange neighbors, yet another blind woman, a creepy man and his daughter, whose face isn't shown.

    Julia undergoes some eye transplant surgery. Her eyes have to be covered so she is assigned someone to care for her. For a good part of the movie, the camera never shows who this kind caretaker is. Julia even falls for him. The neighbor's girl shows up and tells her that she's in serious trouble if she stays with him. The fact that his face isn't shown until she removes her bandages is a hint at who this man is.

    Julia's Eyes has some of the characteristics of Spanish horror films. It's somewhat fantastic, it's very human, slower, has a lot of meaningful details, and is filmed only in shades of brown/gray. It's is surprisingly watchable, has it's jump out of your seat moments and a bit of violence. Belen Rueda is an attractive woman, and the director knows it. But one has to be somewhat in a fantasy mode, even though it seems to aim for realism, because the behavior of the characters is so mind-boggling and dumb at times. Meanwhile, the dialogue shows brilliance, insight, and tenderness. This movie is about 15-20 minutes too long with Julia running around all over the place, slowly because she rarely can see well, and bumping into everything. In the end everything falls into place and is explained. But the greatest weakness remains the improbable and nonsensical actions the characters are required to take for the sake of the story. This is becoming somewhat common and odd. Scriptwriters should use a bit more imagination to advance their story without forcing their characters to act in ways no rational person would.
  • the_rattlesnake2524 May 2011
    7/10
    Another Welcome Spanish Import...
    Guillem Morales's film 'Los ojos de Julia' (English translation: 'Julia's Eyes') is another recent Spanish import from the production desk of Guillermo Del Toro which manages to adequately combine an engaging plot with many well-orchestrated visual sequences.

    Julia (Belen Rueda) is devastated when she finds out that her sister twin Sara (also played by Rueda) has committed suicide, apparently due to her inability to cope with her recent blindness which is part of a genetic disease that will effect both sisters throughout their lifetimes. Sensing something is wrong and with her sight slowly fading, Julia alongside her husband Isaac (Lluis Homar) sets out to investigate her lingering suspicions surrounding her sister's death. Including an apparent boyfriend that nobody can ever recall seeing nor can they describe him and the myriad of characters which she encounteres throughout her existence. As Julia's sight begins to slowly fade, she must attempt to unravel the mystery behind her sister's death.

    Where Morales makes 'Julia's Eyes' work is in the combination of subtle close-up shots, atmospheric lighting and the alternating use of diegetic and non-diegetic sound, he and cinematographer Oscar Faura literally place the viewer within the confines of central protagonist. Instead of simply utilizing the age-old, and overcooked mainstream cinematic method of providing a false scare, followed by heightened non-diegetic sound, they as an alternative, allow the emphasis of the situation to be drawn from Julia's surroundings. Close-up, and medium-close-up shots of insignificant objects, and segments of wall, become ever more important as Julia's eyesight begins to slowly fade. While the avoidance of recording any distinguishing facial features of many male characters, especially during the second and third acts of the film, not only instils a sense of mystery in the title, but also again represents Julia's impending loss of sight. By primarily using the visual aesthetics to communicate to the audience the tone and atmosphere of the piece, Morales extends the engagement of the picture to further audiences by not necessarily providing a scare with every scene, but by consistently keeping the tension up at a high level.

    The film isn't without flaw however; the story is cluttered with many sequences essentially repeating aspects of the story that have already been stated for the viewer and this unfortunately adds a further ten minutes to the running time of the picture. While the actors Belen Rueda and Lluis Homar provide strong emotional performances throughout, the majority of the remaining cast members attempt nothing to step outside of their stereotypical roles, nor is any screen-time provided for them with any depth beyond their scope as a one-time narrative pusher. Everybody else becomes somewhat of a pawn in Julia's mystery and while there are some potentially interesting characters around her, they are never fully developed to the extent where they can make an impact on the film's overall narrative. 'Julia's Eyes' is yet another above-average addition to the Spanish horror/thriller genre, which despite being slightly overlong, contains a solid story with many convoluted and inter-connected twists keeping the third act engrossing until the end credit sequence begins.
  • bob_bear9 December 2012
    3/10
    Julia's Boobs
    Warning: Spoilers
    Alternate title? Julia's boobs do seem to get as much attention as her eyes, so why not?

    Two sisters, two eyes, two boobs and a film of two halves. Aside from "Sara"s bad wig, the first half is stylish, atmospheric and genuinely intriguing. The second half is an utter disappointment.

    The supernatural elements -- Sara talking to an "empty" room, the hand on the shoulder, etc. -- prove to have been an utter con. But worse is that the previously sympathetic, blind heroine then chooses to recuperate from her one chance, once in a lifetime operation alone in the isolated home where her sister and husband had previously betrayed her and died in mysterious circumstances. At that point, it lost all credibility.

    And the boobs keep coming. That Julia never bothered to quiz the girl next door early on in proceedings was bonkers. That the killer was the son of the "blind" neighbor was obvious from the get go -- otherwise why bother mentioning the subject. That Julia was still mooning over her feckless, unfaithful husband at the end was preposterous.

    Del Toro not only did himself a disservice by lending his name to this, he did the audience one.
  • lewiskendell28 February 2012
    6/10
    An inconsistent horror/thriller with an interesting premise.
    A woman suffering from progressive blindness and her husband come to investigate the apparent suicide of her sister, who had the same affliction. There turns out to be much more to the death than it seems on the surface, and more people may end up finding a similar fate unless the mystery can be unraveled. 

    Julia's Eyes gets off to a good start, with an interesting premise and a captivating opening scene. But, most of what follows is not equal to the introduction. Frustrating characters and annoying plot contrivances keep Julia's Eyes from being anything more than an average mystery/thriller that had me almost disinterested during the middle portion. The ending, fortunately, is strong and helped restore some of the good feelings I had about the movie during its beginning. 

    Don't get me wrong, it's a tense movie throughout, thanks to the natural fear of not being able to see the danger around you. And there are plenty of story twists and turns, and not all of them are predictable. But watching characters make dumb, illogical decisions just for the sake of plot progression draws me right out of the atmosphere that's so necessary for an effective thriller. When Julia's Eyes is good, it's very good. It's just unfortunate that parts of it are exercises in pure frustration. 
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