Wednesday 12 October 2022

Horror Film Review: Dark Glasses (2022) ★★★★☆

Dario Argento's Dark Glasses | Horror Film Review

I have an awkward confession to make: I'd never seen any of Dario Argento's work before viewing Dark Glasses. I'd heard great things about the use of colour, music and gore in his films and was keen to see something from the master of giallo.

Dark Glasses (Italian, original title Occhiali Neri) begins on the day of a solar eclipse in Rome. As the skies darken, we meet young escort, Diana (Ilenia Pastorelli), who stares up into the sun. As the eclipse burns itself onto her retinas and Diana is temporarily stunned, we get a foreboding sense of what is to come.

Ilenia Pastorelli is Diana | Dario Argento's Dark Glasses | Horror Film Review

Elsewhere across Rome, a serial killer is targeting prostitutes, leaving only a handful of clues for the police to follow. Their murders are particularly cruel and gruesome with seemingly little motive.

When Diana finds herself targeted by the predator, she flees in her car only to get into a terrible accident. She wakes up in hospital and learns that she has lost her eyesight. Not only that but she has to come to terms with the tragic consequences of the accident.

As Diana fights to put the pieces of her life back together, she meets a young boy, Chin (Andrea Zhang), who also survived the accident. It doesn't take long for Diana to realise that the serial killer is still at large and he still has her within his sights. The only problem is that she can no longer see him coming and both her and Chin are in danger. With only her caseworker Rita (Asia Argento) to help her, will Diana and Chin survive the ordeal?

I liked Dark Glasses a lot. I loved cinematographer Matteo Cocco's use of colour and loved how the night scenes were drenched in shades of blue, red and yellow. He uses vanishing points and leading lines to draw the viewer in and to suffocate with claustrophobic terror. Watching this film was a visual feast.

Were it not for the gore, I'd class this as more than a thriller than a horror but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Arnaud Rebotini's haunting synthesiser score perfectly added to the tension and kept me right at the edge of my seat. I love it when films blend emotive music into the story, specially when it's done so effectively.

It's always a nice surprise when horror films have good actors. Ilenia Pastorelli did a great job as Diana, capturing the frustration, anger and grief that comes with losing something as important as eyesight. Her sarcasm and self-deprecation provided some welcome levity at times and her symbiotic relationship with Chin helped the plot along.

Likewise, it's always a good sign when horror films have a decent plot and Dark Glasses was okay. There were some Swiss cheese moments - for example when the killer changes his van colour but keeps it the same colour for the rest of the film - but overall, I liked the premise and the sneaky reveal at the end. Human nature is always going to be the best motive.

Ilenia Pastorelli is Diana and Asia Argento is Rita | Dario Argento's Dark Glasses | Horror Film Review
I give Dark Glasses an excellent four out of five stars. Fans of Dario Argento and giallo horror should like this one a lot.

A Shudder Exclusive, Dark Glasses, premiers Thursday, October 13, 2022

Trailer: Dark Glasses (2022), dir. Dario Argento


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