Spoilers wear sunglasses at night.
I missed this film when it aired as part of the 26th Fantasia International Film Festival. I was warned not to expect a classic Dario Argento return to form, and perhaps I should’ve listened. This film is needlessly complicated and overtly simple at the same time. Unfortunately, even as low budget horror thriller, it lacks a decent narrative to be entertaining. Instead it comes out as clumsy and stunted. This is your last warning.
Dark Glasses (2022) was directed by Dario Argento who wrote it with Franco Ferrini. There’s a serial killer on the loose, strangling prostitutes with a garrote and escaping in a van. High-end call girl Diana (Ilenia Pastorelli) has managed to escape, but in the resulting car accident she’s lost her sight. As she starts learning how to live without it, she gets help from Rita (Asia Argento) who provides her with Neera, a guide dog. Diana learns that the accident also left young child Chin (Xinyu Zhang) an orphan, and seeks him out. Eventually Chin escapes the orphanage and stays with Diana. Meanwhile, the van driver looms around waiting a chance to finish the job.
It doesn’t work. There are several elements thrown into this mix that have potential but end up as hurdles. Plenty of films have used the premise of the blind victim being stalked by a killer. I expected Diana to use her wits to escape or turn the tables on her assailant, but nothing of the sort happens. What we get is a constant cringy dialog where Chin has to constantly explain everything to Diana and she must in turn tell the kid what to do (sometimes even explaining the result or how she feels about it). As a result she’s constantly narrating the entire movie to us. She even speaks her thoughts out loud as well as what is happening at the moment.
It doesn’t help that either by design or by accident, Illenia Pastorelli’s performance is stiff and wooden. On the other hand, Asia Argento’s much smaller role doesn’t give her a chance to shine. As for Xinyu Zhang’s role of Chin (that name is too much on the nose), the character seems to drag Diana into danger more often than out of it. Even the killer himself has little to no mystery. If you’re expecting a quiet moment in which Diana doesn’t know the killer is in the room and manages to deduce where he is, you will be sorely disappointed.
Not recommended. I wish I’d have some positives to say, but it was a bit of a chore to sit through. It’s a low level budget thriller with just a few horror elements and lacking in character development or engagement. I wanted it to be more but it’s just that. Not worth a watch in my opinion.
That will do for now.