Dark Glasses (2022) – Movie Review

Dark Glasses, 2022.

Directed by Dario Argento.
Starring Ilenia Pastorelli, Asia Argento, Andrea Zhang, Andrea Gherpelli, Mario Pirrello, Maria Rosaria Russo, Gennaro Iaccarino, Guglielmo Favilla, Gianluca Gugliarelli, Cristiano Simone Iannone, Viktorie Ignoto, Gladys Robles, Paola Sambo, and Tiffany Zhou.

SYNOPSIS:

Diana, a young woman who lost her sight, finds a guide in a Chinese boy named Chin. Together they will track down a dangerous killer through the darkness of Italy.

While it’s a pleasure to watch a new film from horror master Dario Argento, Dark Glasses disappointingly ends up filled with promising ideas, each instantaneously discarded as it emerges, making room for a run-of-the-mill slasher that’s most enticing aspect is the thumping electronic score from Arnaud Rebotini. So if you like observing serial killers murder in style in Italy with killer music and gallons of blood spilled using a garrote, then maybe there is something worthwhile to offer.

The serial killer in question only murders women prostitutes, especially if a previous encounter out in public rubbed him the wrong way, and will stop at nothing to finish the job if they miraculously escape. He’s a misogynistic nutcase, with his actions leading to a car accident that severely injures high-class escort Diana (Ilenia Pastorelli) and takes the lives of the parents of a 10-year-old Chinese boy named Chin (Andrea Zhang). Technically, the mother is still alive in a coma, but the boy is still sent to an orphanage. Meanwhile, Diana has lost her vision and is forced to adorn the titular black shades while acquainting to a disabled lifestyle.

Naturally, Diana feels a sense of guilt over the incident, even though it occurred while she was being hunted by a homicidal psychopath, so she stops off at the orphanage and brings the boy video games. She knows it doesn’t make things right, and Chin doesn’t precisely respond enthusiastically, but there is a sincere attempt to be there for him and raise spirits. Unfortunately, Chin is already being bullied by the other kids, so he gets over that resentment quickly, deciding to flee and head to Diana’s home (he steals her business card from the social worker).

Dark Glasses has an opportunity to go in numerous intriguing directions and even brings some of those dynamics up (a formerly able-bodied blind woman continuing to be an escort using her wits to avoid being taken advantage of and scanned out of payments, an attack dog for protection that one assumes one factor into the film more before being dispatched with for roughly half the movie until the climax, or perhaps a few more kills here and there at the hands of the killer), settling for a fight for survival as Chin assists Diana. There is also no meaningful bonding, so the stakes never feel high. It’s all incredibly routine with an occasional burst of blood spray.

As a result, Dark Glasses is rarely suspenseful and fails at creating a chilling atmosphere. It’s all by the books and feels hastily constructed by Dario Argento (co-writing alongside Franco Ferrini), never eliciting an adrenaline rush or reasons to invest.

All roads lead to a somewhat satisfying third-act chase, but even that feels rushed with silly moments. Shield your eyes unless all you care about is watching blood flow (but even that is maybe three scenes inside an 86-minute movie that feels longer).

Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★  / Movie: ★ ★

Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the Flickering Myth Reviews Editor. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at [email protected]

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