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Arrow Video FrightFest 2018: Crystal Eyes review

An iconic new serial killer is born in this campy slasher gem.

Crystal Eyes
Credit: Toy Boys Inc Movies

Super model Alexis Carpenter (Camila Pizzo) is at the top of her game but wildly disliked by her colleagues and peers for her nasty temper and her issues with alcohol and drugs. Following a tantrum where she throws hot coffee over her make-up artist Barbara (Valeria Giorcelli), Alexis inadvertently causes an electrical fire during a runway show that ends up killing her. A year on from Alexis’ death, influential magazine editor Lucia L’ucello (Silvia Montanari) chooses models Eva (Anahí Politi) and Irene (Erika Boveri) to pay tribute to Alexis in a cover shoot. As the shoot draws closer, the dresses set to be used are stolen and a sinister masked person starts picking people off one by one.

Crystal Eyes is the latest collaboration between Argentinian film-makers Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montejano. Set in the 80s, the film is a deliciously campy slasher film that really draws on the greats of the decade and doesn’t take itself too seriously. The opening moments are glorious as you are introduced to Alexis, who is quickly established as a complete nightmare that makes everyone’s life around her much harder. She has no respect for her fellow models and behaves like a complete diva. By the time her inevitable death scene comes, you’re almost cheering at the screen thanks to the wonderfully wicked performance Camila Pizzo delivers.

Crystal Eyes

Credit: ToyBoys Inc Movies

After the film jumps a year on, the action really starts and the first appearance of the mannequin like, doll-faced killer takes place. The killer is very, very creepy and if you’ve got a fear of dolls or mannequins, you’re probably going to find this film unbearable. Endelman and Montejano are very inventive with how they use the killer and their writing and direction makes sure that the character makes a real impact. From the first death, you’re itching for the killer to appear again and off another victim.

One of the things I really liked about Crystal Eyes is that the story is very tight. The script doesn’t waste too much time rounding out the characters, instead taking a leaf from the classic stalk and slash genre. You know from the opening moments that the characters in the film are fodder for the killer so the joy is seeing who gets killed and how they die. There are some fantastic set pieces leading up to the gripping, and fun, climax.

Crystal Eyes

Credit: ToyBoys Inc Movies

The performances are a little bit of a mixed bag but Argentinian screen legend Silvia Montanari is perfectly cast as the vampy Lucia L’ucello. She’s an absolute delight to watch and she really plays up the film’s camp vibe. She and Pizzo turn in the best performances but many of the other actors are only really required to fulfil the scream queen role and they do so adequately.

I was really surprised just how drawn in by Crystal Eyes I was. By the time the killer reveal came, I’d cycled through all the characters and noted down who I thought it could be. I got so carried away by what was unfolding that I let out an audible gasp and shouted at the screen during the final act. Crystal Eyes is a film that knows exactly what it is and it doesn’t pretend to be anything else. If you’re a fan of campy, fun and thrilling slasher films, then this will be your new guilty pleasure.

CRYSTAL EYES from FrightFest on Vimeo.

Cast: Anahí Politi, Erika Boveri, Camila Pizzo, Silvia Montanari, Claudio Armesto, Valeria Giorcelli, Diego Denedetto, Nacho Joshas Director: Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montejano Writers: Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montejano Certificate: TBC Duration: 82 mins Released by: ToyBoys Inc Movies

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