Entertainment Earth


Dark Glasses (Review)

Director: Dario Argento
Writers: Dario Argento, Franco Ferrini
Cast: Ilenia Pastorelli, Asia Argento, Andrea Zhang, Andrea Gherpelli, Mario Pirrello
Year: 2022
Min: 86

A vicious serial killer has been killing call girls and prostitutes, including a brutal slaying early in the film. Diana (llenia Pastorelli) is a call girl, who manages to escape said killer. But, in doing so is involved in a car crash with an Asian family of three. From them, the father ends up dead, the mom in critical condition and a coma, and the little boy, Chin (Xinyu Zhang) gets sent to a orphanage. Diana goes to visit him and gives the kid what looks like a Nintendo Switch. He, then, runs away from the orphanage and asks Diana to let him stay with her. She accepts, but the killer has turned his attention to her. He wants to finish what he started and kill her.

Dark Glasses (Occhiali Neri) is Dario Argento (here directing and co-writing along with Franco Ferrini) first movie since his wretched Dracula 3D. Admit ably Argento's film output has been hit or miss post-Opera, with the vast majority being huge misses. Which is a shame because Argento is one of the genre's true masters, and, at the end of day, my favorite director. While, it never reaches the greatness of say Suspiria (1977) or Opera (1987), it is his finest flick since The Stendhal Syndrome (1996). In short, I am happy to proclaim that Dark Glasses is, for the most part, a return to form for the master. 

The film's opening kill is a spectacular way to setup the movie's killer, and is the most Argento feeling scene he has made in years. It's a brutal garroting that is gorily realistic. Frequent Argento collaborator Sergio (Demons 1&2, The Church, Opera) Stivaletti provides the excellent gore effects, which also include throat ripping and stabbings. On top of the bloodletting there is also a bit of topless nudity from our lovely lead star.

Argento manages to add some legitimate suspense to the film, keeping it very involving. His direction, coupled with the excellent editing and driving score, makes the car chase scene exciting and leads to a violent crash. Even the cheesy snake attack in the water comes off as fun, rather than being groan inducing like say the giant praying mantis in the aforementioned Dracula 3D. In fact, this scene actually feels like the type of wild fun one wants in an Italian horror flick. The movie leads into a tense and great climax that had me cheering. 

Argento also keeps the flick looking good throughout. Now, I must say that there isn't as much stylistic flourishes as his older work. But, we still get some really beautiful wide shots and bird's eye views. The flashbacks and dream sequences use the color red, actually recalling his work on SuspiriaOne aspect that has long been missing from Argento's recent work is a great score. Thankfully, this movie corrects that. The soundtrack handled by Arnaud Rebotini and is driving as well as being really catchy.

But, what is most surprising is the amount of heart that this movie has. I really love the relationship between Diana and Chin. Of course, it helps that both of them are great in their roles. Chin is that rare kid in genre movies that is very likable, as little Andrea Zhang does some great work here in his role. Ilenia Pastorelli is especially good in the lead role of Diana. She is obviously sexy and gorgeous but is also a strong, independent character with a good soul. Coupled with Pastorelli's acting talent, it really gives us one of my favorite female lead roles of 2022. Meanwhile, the always welcomed and stunning Asia Argento has a very likable role as Rita, an instructor for the blind.

Some might not appreciate the more syrupy feel, but I think it makes the suspense payoff better. Plus, we get a great doggy heroine in Nerea, Diana's brave and beautiful seeing-eye dog. She ranks right alongside of Sarii from the awesome Predator prequel Prey, making this year a great year for horror hero puppers. Honestly, if I had seen this earlier, she would easily have made my recent list of The 10 Greatest Good Doggies in Horror Movies. And, who doesn't love a great movie dog? I wouldn't wanna meet the person who doesn't anyway.

Dark Glasses is an involving and entertaining return for Argento. Thanks in large part to the acting of Pastorelli and Zhang as Diana and Chin, respectively. Their sweet relationship of surrogate mother and child adds a loving feeling and soul, that helps to make the film more riveting. Rebotini's awesome and driving score is another pleasing factor, especially as an Argento fan. The good looking flick has a couple of good, stylistic moments, as well being very suspenseful and having a climax that me cheer from my seat. This solidly made film actually makes me once again care for a new Argento project. You can experience this joy when the movie premieres in New York City and Los Angeles on October 7, 2022, then starts streaming exclusively on Shudder on the 13th of this same month.