Crystal Eyes (2019)

Director: Ezequiel Endelman, Leandro Montejano

Running Time: 82 Minutes

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

My review of Crystal Eyes was first published at Bloody Good Screen..

Buenos Aires, 1985. It’s the one-year anniversary of a catwalk fire, which took the life of renowned supermodel Alexis Carpenter (Camilla Pizzo). Lucia L’uccello (Silvia Montanari), editor of a fashion magazine, wants to commemorate the anniversary and honour Alexis, with the help of two supermodels she’s chosen. The night before the photo shoot, Alexis’ original dresses are stolen, and people involved in the business start to vanish.

From the synth-score to the gorgeous colours which fill the screen, what the filmmakers have made is a loving homage to Giallo. The influences are made loud and clear, as we see books on Alfred Hitchcock, a character is named after Lucio Fulci, and a prop resembles one from Dario Argento’s Suspiria. There’s a genuine love for the sub-genre from Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montejano, this films screenwriters and directors, and that shines through the final product.

What sets the plot in motion is Alexis Carpenter, the famed fashion model and self-interested diva. From early on, we see her ego in terrifying form, believing her status gives her an excuse to act venomous to her colleagues. She casts a large shadow even in death, with her words haunting the characters just as much as the murderer. Stylised as a mannequin, the antagonist is a striking figure with a vicious bloodlust, and an attire that brings to mind Brian De Palma’s Dressed To Kill.

The closest thing we have to a protagonist is Eva, one of the models who’s helping to commemorate the anniversary. She’s referred to as cold and distant, while only speaking to make her colleagues uncomfortable. We’re told this twice, but what we see of the character says otherwise, especially with how much she speaks to others. Maybe it’s to do with Anahí Politi’s performance, but she comes off as more likeable than her reputation implies. Despite this contradiction, Eva is a compelling figure to follow.

Over the 82-minute runtime, the plot moves along with great efficiency. There’s no interest in taking things slowly, but it can feel like the already short runtime is being padded out. A musical performance is an example of this. By the time things reach their end, it feels like a mish-mash of assorted ideas, not of all of which work together. In spite of this, we’re still given a fun film, and a loving tribute to Giallo.