New Horror Releases: The Eyes of My Mother (Reviewed) - 2016

First things first, The Eyes of my Mother is a beautiful looking film. Director Nicolas Pesce’s choice to film in black and white makes for a stunning visual experience. The blending and fading of dark and light tones embellishes the film with a classic noir presentation. This is one of those movies where you will notice the lighting, and how it can saturate or highlight a scene. In addition, there are several impressive long shots, and Pesce’s framework lends an intellectual depth to the story. Many of his techniques are not routine, and this approach lends an artistic quality to the film. With a screen time of 76 minutes, Eyes unfolds over the course of 20 years. The short screen time makes for a dominate film, where every scene is used to it’s fullest potential. 

Eyes is a dark film, following Francisca, a reclusive young woman struggling to put together the pieces of adulthood after a series of traumatic events. Unfolding in three chapters, Francisca’s desire for companionship manifests into helpless desperation, provoking extreme measures. Francisca is relatable in many ways, as all humans craving companionship are, and Eyes reveals that sanity can be a fine line to those lost in the trappings of isolation. There is nothing that occurs in this film that hasn't happened in real life, and that may be perhaps the most terrifying aspect of all. 

These are the rare unspoken of horrors that rarely see the spotlight of mass media. The snippet on the news that gets just a brief mention before moving onto the sports highlights. Eyes isn't overly gruesome, but it doesn't necessarily need to be. Nevertheless the film is very disturbing, revealing the sinister undertones of a broken existence. For a horror film, it doesn’t have the stereotypical jump scares, but it taps into something much deeper. If axe wielding murderers and blood splattering gore are your thing, this film may miss the mark. This is a stripped down horror film that presents the primal unraveling of human nature.

Eyes is an impressive directorial debut for Pesce, who also wrote the screenplay.  For a film that uses blindness as a metaphor, Pesce presents a movie that is very visual. Kika Magalhaes shines in her role as Francisca. Her duo language performance unfolds both in English and Portuguese (subtitles provided). The role required a wide range of emotions and she convincingly pulled off the challenging role. 

Overall, The Eyes of my Mother is an eerie yet beautiful film, and another impressive horror release that steers clear of the tired cookie cutter formula. Eyes could best be described as art-house horror, much like The VVitch, there is a balance between the execution of the film, and the story it is trying to tell. There is the same amount of effort given to the presentation and framework as there is the performances on screen. Neither is more important than the other, and the results make for a stunning film. Pesce is definitely a director to keep your eye on, his debut is that impressive. 


- Lee L. Lind

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