Archive for June 14, 2022

Blind Tuesday: The butcher’s so frightening I gotta wear shades

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , on June 14, 2022 by dcairns

Remember when I used to write about thrillers featuring blind characters on Tuesdays? But I never got around to WAIT UNTIL DARK. Maybe this time.

Well, Dario Argento has made something called DARK GLASSES or maybe, ridiculously, BLACK GLASSES (OCCHIALI NERI). It has all the bad qualities of an Argento film from any period and maybe some moments reminiscent of his good ones.

As in any Argento film, good or bad, people are stupid, and our sex worker heroine starts the film by staring into an eclipse. When she’s blinded by a brain injury incurred that night at the hands (or van) of a serial killer, we’re apt to feel she was seeing on borrowed time anyway. (I’ve belatedly realised filmmakers deliberately have their characters behave stupidly because it makes the audience feel tense. Don’t go downstairs! They’re often willing to sacrifice sympathy and credibility for this useful stupidity anxiety.)

The car crash that blinded her has also orphaned a little Chinese boy who becomes her carer, recalling the cute relationship at the heart of CAT O’ NINE TAILS (good Argento). Asia Argento plays an employee of the blind person’s mobility service, who wears a T-shirt saying she’s an instructor of the blind person’s mobility service. I think everyone in this film should wear a T-shirt saying what they are. It’s the only way the dopey cops are likely to identify the killer.

Argento seems pretty clear in interviews that he doesn’t want to repeat his glory days, and if fans can’t learn to enjoy his new tunes, that’s their hard luck. But he CONSTANTLY repeats his glory days, he just does it without the style. This one has a faux-Goblin score and some coloured lighting. And one or two inventive situations — there’s a ludicrous random water-snake attack that reminded me of INFERNO’s river-rats, and quite a promising bit where the heroine has a rifle and needs the kid to aim it. But nothing is made of this — no shot aiming along the barrel as it pans wildly to and fro, the minimum required trick. Took me ten seconds to think of it.

What sometimes happens to older directors is they increasingly reject cheap tricks, but have nothing to replace them with. In a film like this, cheap tricks are what we pay to see.

Alas! A whole lot of funding bodies threw in presumably tiny amounts of money to let Dario make another film. I would be glad for him, but he doesn’t seem to be having any fun with it.