Crystal Eyes

***

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Crystal Eyes
"If you're a fan of gleefully executed giallo-style carnage, you'll struggle to find a film that features quite as many murders as this one."

Frightfest 2018 has seen a number of films with 1980s themes - it seems to be a current craze - but none of them quite as full on as Argentinian mystery thriller Crystal Eyes. With an electronic score and a bevy of specially written songs any one of which could win Eurovision, it's lit in lurid shades of pink, purple and blue, and everybody has hair three times its natural size. There are shoulderpads that put Joan Collins' most elaborate outfits to shame, Kevin Aucoin-style high glamour make-up and dry ice sneaking into scenes wherever an excuse presents itself. Even the shooting style echoes Eighties music videos. All it's missing is the cocaine and the sleazy politicians.

We being on the runway - where else? It's framed as an alleyway, Russell Mulcahy-style, with a wire fence at the end for the models to pose against. One model, the sensational Alexis (Camila Pizzo), wants all the limelight to herself. Her big diva attitude has made her a lot of enemies - so is it really an accident when she bursts into flames?

Copy picture

One year later, staff at the agency are arranging a tribute show. Other models bicker and vie for attention. But as business interests and petty jealousies dominate their thoughts, somebody has a more sinister agenda - a mysterious black-gloved killer is picking them off one by one - and doing so at an alarming rate.

If you're a fan of gleefully executed giallo-style carnage, you'll struggle to find a film that features quite as many murders as this one. There's barely time to develop one's suspicions before possible suspects are offed, and although the killer ultimately turns out to be very much in keeping with genre tradition, awareness of that doesn't much narrow the field. The film is full of playful references to genre classics - there's even a bird with crystal plumage - but for the most part they don't intrude, blending surprisingly well into a film that already has a lot going on.

Characters display a range of emotions varying from the icy and devious to the histrionic, complementing the joyously OTT costumes and haircuts. Though the VHS vibe of the whole may encourage viewers to think of it as shoddy, recreating something like this as a retrospective piece of art is no easy feat. It's clearly a labour of love, and it benefits from impressive attention to detail. Yes, this is a case of style over substance, but for people who appreciate that style, it's a treat.

Reviewed on: 26 Aug 2018
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Crystal Eyes packshot
On the anniversary of a model being set alight on the runway, models preparing for a show in her honour start disappearing.

Director: Ezequiel Endelman, Leandro Montejano

Writer: Ezequiel Endelman, Leandro Montejano

Starring: Silvia Montanari, Anahí Politi, Erika Boveri, Claudio Armesto, Valeria Giorcelli

Year: 2017

Runtime: 82 minutes

Country: Argentina

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