Set in the wicked world of fashion circa 1985 Crystal Eyes aka Mirada de Cristal is a lurid love letter to the 80’s and the Giallo genre blending glitz, glamour, gore and guffaws into a super stylish psycho killer flick.
Opening at a deconstructed runway show in a back alley we meet the main players including unstable supermodel Alexis Carpenter (Camila Pizzo) the top model in town who spends more time in the bathroom’s powdering her nose than in the dressing room getting ready.
The demanding diva treats everyone like trash including her make-up artist whose face she burns with hot coffee when she confronts Alexis about her attitude. Strutting out in a wedding dress at the climax of the show Alexis is suddenly and suspiciously set on fire burning alive on the runway in front of the transfixed appalled audience.
Written off as a terrible tragic accident one year later the editor in chief of Buenos Aires top fashion magazine Lucia L’uccello (Silvia Montanari) chooses her two best models to star in a tribute photoshoot to mark the first anniversary of Alexis’s death.
However the night before the event Alexis’s original dress is stolen starting off a string of strange and sinister events seemingly involving anyone who crossed the malicious murdered model as if her spirt was back and out for revenge.
As people start to disappear the two models in line for Alexis crown Eva Lantier (Anahí Politi) and Irene del Lago (Erika Boveri) start to feel like they are being stalked. Is it a phantom, a figment of their imagination or is the female figure in the long black leather raincoat Alexis herself risen from the dead?
Written and directed by Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montejano whose previous major credit is as costume designers on Argentinian thriller TV show Limbo, Crystal Eyes looks sensational with sets and costumes straight out of the 80’s setting and even the lighting and creative shots capturing the feel of the period perfectly, complete with an electro soundtrack to match.
The simple thriller killer story is infused with nods to the Giallo movies of masters like Argento, Bava and more not only in the look of the leather glove and overcoat waering switchblade wielding murderer who creepily masquerades as a mannequin but also in the way Crystal Eyes is filmed, full of vivid colors, stylish kills and poignant imagery.
Even though many of the tropes and scenes shown may seem very familiar the film is hugely entertaining throughout and it’s easy to see what fun the cast and creators of this great looking murder mystery full of fashion victims had making the movie.
The cast, which is predominantly female, are brilliant all managing to remain on the right side of camp, a hard job seeing as the script has its tongue firmly in its cheek throughout. Camila Pizzo revels in her role as Alexis the brutal beauty everyone loved to hate while Anahí Politi and Erika Boveri take on opposite sides of the spectrum as Eva and Irene one cold and cruel the other warm and friendly and both the target of the animated shop dummies deranged attention.
Cleverly staying away from parody or all out comedy Crystal Eyes is a solid thriller with some great gore and a fashion flair that makes it even more desirable. Like the brilliant Beyond the Gates it is an honest homage paying fitting tribute to glorious decade for horror even if the clothes where all terrible.