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EYES OF CRYSTAL (OCCHI DI...
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Reviewed by: Rees Savidis

Directed by: Eros Puglielli

Starring:
Luigi Lo Cascio
Lucia Jimenez
Angel Egido

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
Inspector Giacomo Amaldi (Luigi Lo Cascio) desperatly tries to track-down a vicious serial killer that’s running rampant through the streets of Rome, lopping-off the body parts of his victims and replacing them with those of a life-sized doll.
Is it good movie?

Distributed by the Frightfest brand

Giallo (pronounced JAH-loh) is an Italian 20th century genre of literature and film. It is closely related to the French fantastique genre, crime fiction, horror fiction and eroticism.

Occhi di cristallo (pronounced Eyes of Crystal) is thrilling, gory and unflinching little import shocker, and the best example of the Giallo genre we’ve had since Dario Argento’s Opera.

Comparing Eyes of Crystal to the early work of Italian horror-master Dario Argento is obvious (hell, I just did it myself), but what Director Eros Puglielli does with his film needs to be credited to him and him alone. Puglielli has stripped the genre down to it core essentials - Grassroots Giallo if you will. By taking the classic Giallo mold (bloodletting, magnificent camera moves, unique musical arrangements) then removing the garish, Technicolor explosion of Argento’s best work (Tenebre, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage), Puglielli has elevated Eyes of Crystal to something akin to an Italian version of Seven.

With his pitch-perfect composition and his masterful use of shadows and light, Puglielli has created a beautifully grotesque world to immerse his characters in – a world full of dread and nervous anticipation. Imagine watching a tight-shot of a blind mouse as it clumsily zigs and zags, slowly moving towards a tightly-set mouse trap – towards its own unsuspecting death. That’s the feeling Eyes of Crystal elicited in me.

There’s a scene early on Eyes of Crystal that, quite literally, had me sitting forward in my chair, my fingers tightening around the arm-rests. The scene takes place in the broadest of broad daylight, in an overgrown field on the edge of some polluted river. A man, a hunter, steps through the tall grass, rifle in hand, and sets a tar-trap for an unsuspecting sea-bird. The framing is tight…a little erratic. Off in the distance, a young woman rides her boyfriend; head tipped back, the sun kissing her cheeks as she nears climax. A short distance away, an old man stands, barely obscured, jacking-off to the young woman. Suddenly, the old man spies the hunter…the hunter spies back, and without so-much as a second thought, he chambers a round in to the rife, takes aim, and shoots the man dead. The woman and her boyfriend react to the gun-shot, startling the hunter…he turns to sound of their footfalls and shoots them as well, and, in that instant, the man with the rifle and the tar-trap who, moments ago was just an ordinary man out for an afternoon of snaring sea-birds, reveals himself to be a methodical, remorseless and cold-blooded murderer. It’s a brilliant set-up for a brilliant film, and one of the most shocking reveals I’ve seen since the infamous head-gives-head sequence from Haute Tension. My hat is off to you, Eros Puglielli.

Video / Audio
VIDEO: The 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer provided here is gorgeous. Deep, rich blacks and eye-popping blood-red is the order of the day with Eyes of Crystal, and this transfer delivers both in spades.

AUDIO: A very aggressive and active Dolby Digital 5.1 track. The dialog may be in Italian, but things like meaty bullet hits, knife-strikes, splashes of gore and creeping doom know no language-barrier.
The Extras
Last Call
I pray to Jeebus that someone picks this masterful little slice of Giallo up for distribution stateside; Eyes of Crystal needs to be seen. Those with all-region DVD capabilities should seek this DVD out immediately.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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