Director: Dario Argento
Writers: Dario Argento, Franco Ferrini, Carlo Lucarelli
Starring: Ilenia Pastorelli, Asia Argento, Xinyu Zhang
It’s been ten years since Dario Argento’s Dracula 3D, was released and he’s finally back with Dark Glasses. His new film also marks Argento’s return to the giallo genre like his early films over half a century ago. The script for Dark Glasses was orginally written in 2002 but shelved when the production company went bust. It wasn’t until Dario’s daughter, Asia Argento, discovered the script in a drawer while writing her autobiography that the film was back on the cards. Dario then updated the script throughout lockdown and the film is due to be released on Shudder in October.
The story follows Diana (Ilenia Pastorelli), an escort who is being hunted by a killer. During his initial attack on her, she crashes her car into another car, killing the driver and front-seat passenger, leaving the child in the back, Chin (Xinyu Zhang), without parents. The accident also causes Diana to lose her sight. Despite her disability the killer is still hot on her trail and won’t stop until he’s killed her.
Dark Glasses is simply not great, but it’s also not terrible. It has an absolutely bonkers plotline that makes less sense as it goes on and really should just be taken at face value, without much thought. Diana is given a guide dog from that has been taught how to attack, which comes in very handy. Chin, the now orphaned boy who has a thing for stealing business cards, doesn’t hold the accident against Diana for long, and just goes along for the ride and no one really tries to intervene. He leaves the home he’s been placed in and just decides to live with Diana, and apart from one brief police visit no one cares. There’s things like that all the way through the film. Even though the plot is stupid, it’s still entertaining to watch. There are a couple of funny bits as well, but nothing that memorable.
As per usual in the genre there is a bit of gratuitous nudity that makes this feel like something very dated. Most of this is just in the beginning of the film, but it’s still just not needed. However, the biggest sin the film commits is just not utilising the premise that much. Diana isn’t used to being blind, the whole situation is completely new to her, and apart from a couple of moments that’s not really used to build tension or horror. It’s just a minor inconvenience that causes her not to be able to fight back at various points.
The gore, on the other hand, is really good. It’s extremely over the top, with blood pouring out everywhere. Things like the first victim being garrotted or when the guide dog does attack someone it rips out their neck, are really graphic scenes. There’s also an imposing score, that has two settings, mimicking a heartbeat and making you feel like you’re in the middle of a rave. I can’t say whether it’s a good score or not as I’m not completely decided, but it’s really present for the whole film, almost becoming a character itself.
Dark Glasses runs at around ninety minutes and is constantly on the move with a very quick pace that helps disguise just how ridiculous the story is. It races by and is definitely not boring, but you’re very aware that this isn’t great. Dark Glasses is not the best of Argento’s film, but it is a lot better than Dracula 3D and that’s really all we needed from this. Hopefully his next film, a newly announced remake of a very dark Mexican film from the 40s, continues the upwards trend.
Dark Glasses will be available on Shudder from the 13th October 2022
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