Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Damn Your Eyes (2009)

Damn Your Eyes is a short film that emulates the gritty stylishness of spaghetti Westerns by faithfully recreating the feel of the classic Italian-lensed Westerns, complete with a mysterious desperado out for revenge, a distinct score, old-school shootouts and plenty of bloodshed.
Sam (Jakob Von Eichel), a mysterious stranger, arrives in town to exact revenge on the men who wronged him when he was only a child. He encounters Louisa (Marisa Costa), a prostitute who dreams of a better life. Meanwhile, Dennis (Ray Reynolds), the town’s lawman, is familiar with Sam’s past and makes it his personal duty to stop him before the violence escalates.

Writer/director David Guglielmo has created a stunning short film with Damn Your Eyes. While not strictly horror, Damn Your Eyes has that outlaw aesthetic and plenty of violence that will no doubt attract horror fans. The visuals are impressive, creating a faithful-looking Wild West even on the film’s tight budget (the short was supposedly filmed for just $5,000), and the direction is sharp and focused, really engaging the viewer. While the film has limited locations (mainly a saloon and two different houses), it never feels like this negatively impacts the film. Instead, it shows how the film overcame its budgetary limitations while still delivering a visually arresting story.

While the visuals used really capture the feel of a spaghetti Western, I also must mention the excellent use of music throughout that gave the film a haunting, lonesome quality so associated with Westerns. The score really gave the film that extra polish and feel of completion.

As for the acting, it was top-notch. I really loved Jakob Von Eichel as the mysterious sharp-shooter Sam. Equally impressive was Marisa Costa as saloon prostitute Louisa, exuding equal parts vulnerability and tough-as-nails attitude.

I loved the authentic feel of the film and the vivid world it created. With dashes of grindhouse grit, Western bravado, gallows humor and even a few gruesome bits sprinkled throughout, not to mention the engaging story that unfolds on-screen, Damn Your Eyes was an absolute joy to watch. My only complaint is that it wasn’t long enough. However, the short has been receiving rave reviews, and hopefully this will allow filmmaker Guglielmo to push forward with a sequel or perhaps even a full-length feature.

I certainly hope to see more of writer/director David Guglielmo, because this is one of the best (and one of my favorite) short films I've seen!!

For more info (and to watch this amazing short yourself), please visit the short film's official site!

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