Without a doubt one of the most eagerly anticipated events at this year’s festival is the return of horror legend Dario Argento. The Italian director, who brought viewers gems like Suspiria, presents his latest thriller as a Berlinale Special Gala, the world premiere occurring on 11th February at the Friedrichstadt Palast.
As a solar eclipse plunges Rome into darkness, a serial killer targeting sex workers quite literally comes out of the bushes. Diana (Ilenia Pastorelli) escapes his attack, but in an ensuing car chase crashes into another vehicle. The drivers are fatally injured, leaving behind a young boy named Chin. Diana’s own injuries render her blind. As she has to adjust to her new circumstances, Chin and aide Rita (Asia Argento) become Diana’s anchors, especially with the killer still at large, gunning for her.
The feature starts out highly stylised, with a glamorous aesthetic to the cinematography and the protagonist’s demeanour. Paired with an attention-grabbing electronic score, some sequences have the appearance of a fashion film. The credits reveal that, indeed, Pastorelli was dressed by the luxury brand Fendi.
Unsurprisingly, Argento sprinkles the feature with just the right amount of gore – practical effects for the most part – but choses to place a large focus on the human connections that prevail against the darkness. While playing with the horror of the unseen, the production doesn’t have the pervasive thrill of films like Wait Until Dark. The tension abates somewhat as the adventures the characters experience on their flight touch upon the fanciful.
Derivative of some of his previous work, Dark Glasses is not an Argento masterpiece. It doesn’t take after recent trends of elevated horror, but nor can it be dismissed as soulless splatter. Instead, it is an enjoyable flick, ideal for a relaxed evening in front of the television.
Occhiali Neri (Dark Glasses) does not have a UK release date yet.
For further information about the event visit the Berlin Film Festival website here.