Dark Glasses (2022) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Dark Glasses (2022) Review

Horrorific content by angie on August 05th, 2022 | Movie Review | Killer, Thriller, Mystery, Serial Killer, Stalker, Giallo, Thrill Kill

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It's about a woman blinded during a car accident when trying to escape a murderer who only targets sex workers and must take in the lone survivor of the crash and escape the killer.

Dark Glasses was directed by Dario Argento (The Sandman, Dracula 3D, and Giallo) and stars Ilenia PastorelliAsia Argento (The Mother of Tears, Land of the Dead, and The Phantom of the Opera), Andrea ZhangCristiano Simone IannoneFabrizio EleuteriAndrea GherpelliZhang XinyuMaria Rosaria RussoGuglielmo Favilla (Closed Circuit Extreme), and Tiffany Zhou.

Dark Glasses (2022) Review

Dario Argento returns to form with his latest film Dark Glasses. The film takes cues from the Giallo genre while also paying homage to the disabled woman in peril subgenre popularized in the 80s and 90s.

The opening of Dark Glasses evokes Argento's signature style. After our protagonist Diana drives around Rome, she is momentarily blinded by looking at an eclipse. The action then cuts to a female sex worker who is finishing up with a client. She leaves his hotel before being brutally garrotted to death. This character has no name or dialogue, and her proximity to sexual activity suggests she has been targeted because of her profession. This feels like Argento's iconic Gialli films of the 70s and 80s but in a slightly outdated way.

Shortly after that, Inspector Capo Aleardi arrives and immediately begins taking charge of the situation. Aleardi barely notices, and the investigation is quickly handed off to his colleagues Ispettrice Bajani and Ispettore Baldacci. The truth is that Dark Glasses has very little interest in investigating its police procedural plot points; the film is all about Diana, who becomes the killer's next target.

Diana is a highly skilled and professional sex worker, like the first victim. However, she has two difficult experiences with clients - one who smells strongly of dogs, and another who wants to fist her. Nevertheless, Diana is confident and direct in these scenes, indicating that she can take care of herself.

An assailant follows Diana to her car and then pursues her in a high-speed chase. This ends in a bloody, slow-motion accident in which Diana's car rams into and over the car of a Chinese family, killing the father and leaving the mother in a coma. The young son is orphaned, at least temporarily. Diana herself is permanently blinded as a result of her injuries.

After being left blind, Diana is trained by Rita and develops a friendship with her guide dog, Perea. Out of guilt, Diana also befriends Chin, who she had previously wronged, and the two form a bond due to their mutual loss. However, the murderer soon resumes hunting, prompting the woman and child to flee.

Sergio Stivaletti's makeup work is on display in Dark Glasses' many action sequences, which feature car crashes and brutal murders. The gore looks exceptionally realistic, thanks to Stivaletti's attention to detail. In an unexpected and inspired moment, Diana and Chin find themselves in a precarious situation, stranded in waist-deep water surrounded by a nest of dangerous sea snakes.

However, Argento and editor Flora Volpelière's sequences are discontinuous and lack cohesion, making it difficult for audiences to feel engaged or invested. The scenes in the movie feel unconnected and randomly put together, as if they are happening separately from each other. The scene with the sea snake occurs in the middle of a series of chase scenes, but it doesn't impact the scenes before or after it. This happens often, and it can be confusing because Diana and Chin have a lot of time to rest and explore their surroundings even though a killer is chasing them.

This sedate pacing significantly decreases the likelihood of violence and death when it should be escalating. Unfortunately, as a result, Dark Glasses lags badly at several points, despite being a short 87 minutes.

Not assisting the situation is Pastorelli's lackluster performance. Dark Glasses has little character development. While Diana's relationship with Chin is cute and sentimental, the movie's latter half is a bunch of scenes of the blind woman yelling and stumbling. Although it's a stretch to believe how quickly Diana adapts to her vision loss and the way she is roughly handled, horror fans can still get behind this film. It does reinforce, however, that Diana's disability is more or less just a tool for advancing the plot.

Instead, the most standout and successful character is Argento's daughter, Asia. As Rita, Asia brings a charming and charismatic presence to her few scenes. She's a down-to-earth and lively character who is very welcome overall.

Worth Watching? 

It's not a great film, but it's watchable, especially for people who enjoy Lifetime and Hallmark movies from the 80s and 90s. If the second half had been better edited and paced, it would have been tenser, but Asia Argento's character Rita and the solid gore effects help to make up for that.

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