October 3, 2022 Dark Glasses (Movie Review)
To the true Horror fan there are a few film directors who are considered maestros of the genre. This list would most undoubtedly include the late George A. Romero and Wes Craven, John Carpenter, but also Italian Filmmaker Dario Argento. Beginning in cinema in the late 1960s, Argento would make his directorial debut in 1970 with The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. A film that had a unique stylistic approach, Argento’s genius as director would soon be more widely known thanks to films such as 1971’s Four Flies on Grey Velvet, 1975’s Deep Red, and one of his most universally praised works,1977’s Suspiria. Steadily creating cinematic dream-like films with an eye for color, lighting, and atmosphere through the decades, it has been quite some time since he has put out anything new. In fact, the last film written and directed by Argento was all the way back in 2012 with the release of Dracula 3D. Far too long ago, thankfully Dario Argento makes a return in 2022.
Named Occhiali neri, with an English title of Dark Glasses, Argento’s latest film was picked up by Shudder who eyed a limited theatrical release on October 7th, ahead of the film’s streaming debut on Thursday, October 13th. A highly anticipated release, for fans, the big question might be… what will Argento’s approach be? You see most genuine Horror fans adore distinctive filmmaking where there is clear artistic quality and careful attention to atmosphere. In the past Argento excelled at such aspects where oftentimes the mood of the film took precedence over the plot. Perhaps something some audiences may or may not latch onto, it is what makes his films what they are.
All this in mind, the prospect of a new Argento film is both exciting and worrisome for some fans. Exciting because they are longing for some new life in the hollow new world of Horror cinema, but worrisome because what if he just follows modern trends. Thankfully the worry can be put aside because Dark Glasses very much stays true to Argento’s style.
In brief, the story follows an escort named Diana (Ilenia Pastorelli: They Call Me Jeeg 2015, Blessed Madness Luna 2018) who is targeted by a vicious killer. Stopping at nothing to snuff her out, in one attempt Diana’s life is spared, but she is inevitably blinded by a horrible accident that also leaves a little boy named Chin (Xinyu Zhang: debut film) orphaned. Distraught about her situation, fortunately thanks to the support and help of someone trained to help those with blindness, Rita (Asia Argento: xXx 2002, Land of the Dead 2005), Diana finds new hope. Feeling remorse for Chin’s situation, Diana tries to express such, but soon finds herself acting as the boy’s guardian. A touching act of humanity, the only problem is the said killer is still out there looking to finish off Diana, now putting her and Chin’s life in danger.
A simply enough plot, what really stands out about the film are a few aspects. While the video quality is very clean and modern, it still feels like something Argento may have made years ago. The camera angles are true to form, the dialogue is on par, and the use of light to create a certain mood is fitting. Furthermore, there is a perfect synth-based soundtrack, that may have a bit of a heavy beat at times, but still adds tension each time the killer is approaching. And this leads us to the effects, which in the eyes of some could make or break a film. Thankfully Argento stays away from any CGI and keeps the elements practical where the blood is gushing and the lacerations are creative. Now, let’s be clear that gore has never really been the most important aspect of any Argento film, but more as a compliment to the overall piece; and this is also the case with Dark Glasses.
In truth, Dario Argento’s Dark Glasses is a quality modern day Giallo. Some modern critics may turn their nose up at this film because it lacks a certain coherent direction, is absent of a social message they are looking for, or because in their eyes, has absurd sequences. Quite Unfortunate and short-sighted, the bottom-line is that even at the peak of Argento’s career, such individuals would have not appreciated his work… so why would they now? If we are honest, we already know that Argento’s films attract a niche audience while occasionally finding mainstream recognition. All in all, everyone is entitled to their opinions, so let Horror lovers and Argento fans draw their own conclusions. That is why Cryptic Rock gives Dark Glasses 4 out of 5 stars.