Buenos Aires, 1985. It's the first anniversary of the death of Alexis Carpenter, the unstable supermodel who died tragically when she was set on fire while closing a runaway show. Lucia ...
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Buenos Aires, 1985. It's the first anniversary of the death of Alexis Carpenter, the unstable supermodel who died tragically when she was set on fire while closing a runaway show. Lucia L'uccello - Editor-in-Chief of the most important magazine in Buenos Aires - chooses supermodels Eva Lantier and Irene del Lago to honor Alexis on the cover of the anniversary issues dedicated to the famous model. The night before the photo shoot, Alexis's original dresses that were going to be used by the models are stolen. From that moment, members of the important fashion magazine and the agency begin to disappear, one by one, at the hands of a stealthy, sinister female silhouette in a long black leather raincoat. Is someone seeking revenge? Or has Alexis returned from the grave?
"Mirada de Cristal" perfectly captures the essence of Italian horror productions from the late 70s and 80s and this is something that I personally loved to see. It features all the elements that made those movies from that particular era so fun to watch: an uncomplicated plot with the right amount of mystery, fun characters, creative death scenes, a killer wearing a very distinctive mask, a bright color palette and great music.
While watching "Mirada de Cristal", I couldn't help but thinking of one of my favorite Italian horror flicks from the 80s, like Michele Soavi's "Deliria" (aka "Stage Fright"), especially with all those colorful lights, the flamboyant characters with diva attitudes and the creative death scenes. The characters are one of the many things I love about this flick: they are clearly supposed to be over the top and somewhat campy, so I also give credit to the actors for delivering their lines in a way that was very evocative of those flicks from the 80s. I especially enjoyed seeing the late Silvia Montanari and veteran actress Claudia Lapacó in a small role towards the very end. To be fair, though, most of the cast members were up to the task, not only the most famous ones.
Though the budget was modest (and it shows from time to time), directors Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montejano used it wisely enough for the most part. They tried to recreate the aesthetics of the dance academy from "Suspiria" (1977), which is not exactly easy to do with moderate budget, but somehow, they managed to get the job done (hell, we even get a brief glimpse of ornamental glass peacock!). I regret to say that, at times, the scenery looked perhaps a little bit too stiff and cartoonish. I don't know if this was intentional or not, but I personally didn't care for it that much. That being said, I'll take artificial scenery over lousy CGI any day! For the most part, the scenery was great. The photography and the strident color scheme was very well done and it reminded me of Dario Argento's "Inferno" (1980), for the most part.
Throughout the entire film, the killer wears a patent leather trench coat, high heels and a creepy mask of a woman with heavy makeup and dead eyes. When chasing his/her victims, the killer walks as if he/she were on a catwalk, even going so far as to strike glamorous poses (how can anyone not enjoy the deliberate campiness of this?). The chase scenes are very well done, providing just the right amount of tension and without being unnecessarily prolonged. As for the kills, they are really creative and intentionally over the top (the one with the crystal bird was just perfect). As for the killer's identity reveal, well, it really wasn't very surprising, but, who cares? Most "old-school" slashers were predictable to a certain extent too, so I don't consider this a flaw.
I really enjoyed this movie and I think those who have watched more than a couple of Italian/American horror productions from the 80s will be able to acknowledge that both directors really have a tremendous passion for horror flicks and they put a lot of effort into this. They evidently cared about their film, nothing felt rushed, they took a lot of time and dedication to take care of even the tiniest details and it shows. When something is done with such devotion, it most likely ends up getting the recognition it deserves.
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