Blind review – alternates between dull and infuriating Vision off

August 29, 2020
Alix Turner 0
Film, Film Reviews
1.5

Summary

The result of horror B-movie filmmakers and actors getting together to make a Giallo-style drama/thriller.

1.5

Summary

The result of horror B-movie filmmakers and actors getting together to make a Giallo-style drama/thriller.

I was really looking forward to Blind, when I saw it listed for this year’s Virtual FrightFest: the trailer was dramatic, and the description read like a modern throw-back to stylish Giallo cinema. But no: unfortunately, the film disappointed me from the start.

Blind is about Faye (Sarah French), “retired” from acting since eye surgery a year earlier which failed, resulting in blindness and – understandable – depression. It’s also about friendships she has formed via a support group since that event, with Sophia (Caroline Williams) and Luke (Tyler Gallant)… and about the masked “Pretty Boy” (Jed Rowen), who has no dialogue but appears to be killing people to get closer to Faye. Sophia is also blind (though since birth) and Luke mute; thus Faye and those around her are presented as inherently vulnerable, but with an independence that refuses to buy into that vulnerability.

Blind is not an action-packed slasher. It was directed by Marcel Walz (Blood Feast) and was intended as a “drama thriller” departure from the violent horror films he is usually associated with. The set is a spacious apartment in the Hollywood hills, viewed in bright, dreamy sunshine. For a good deal of the film, we watch Faye simply pining for her sighted days or relishing the cocoon of her home; though she doesn’t actually do much there beyond drinking wine and swaying to lounge music. Thomas Rist’s cinematography is lovely though, making the most of colors, light, and the opportunities for pointless close-ups. The music, on the other hand, alternates from mesmeric to annoying.

It was interesting to see that the majority of the cast are established actors in horror films and B-movies (films such as Piranhaconda, Werewolf in a Women’s Prison, and The Greasy Strangler). Having watched Blind, I can confidently say that the talents are not easily transferable from one genre to another. On a positive note, though, French and Williams both acted blind much better than they acted in general; if I hadn’t seen Williams in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, I would have thought she actually was unable to see.

But here’s a thing: blind (and mute) actors could and should have been hired for these roles. Granted, not Faye’s role, as we see her pre-sight-loss briefly, but all the others. I had very uncomfortable ableism vibes from the casting, therefore, but also from the writing. Many disabled people want to be represented on film, but as regular people, not heroes or victims, and certainly not as plot devices.

Much of the writing came across as either disability misery/pity or inspiration p**n (especially in the support group), neither of which is respectful to people with those conditions. I wondered from the start whether any organizations which represent or support blind people were consulted in the writing or making of this film, but I suspect not. It’s a great shame, as this kind of thing can be done much better (I’m thinking of Hush and Don’t Breathe). The script also had some dreadful inconsistencies in it, especially in relation to Faye herself: she is blind and depressed, and yet her home is spotless, tidy and with many lit candles in a row; she pours wine without spilling any (must be practiced by now); even though it is mentioned in the support group that other senses are heightened when a person loses one, Faye has no idea when the killer is next to her. When at one point Faye is convinced someone has been in her home (great, I thought!) she still carries on as though life is normal after the hopeless police officer has left.

Ah yes, the killer (interestingly, the second one I’ve seen in a white suit during this season’s FrightFest). We see Pretty Boy (a name used only in the credits, not in the film itself) daydreaming, and later attacking those who know Faye, wearing a shiny plastic mask for most of Blind; but mostly he just stands nearby. To some, he may look creepy, but I found most of his scenes frustrating, as they told me nothing.

And then, after an ending that just isn’t one, with slow motion in lieu of real tension, the words “Part 1” appear on the screen. I’m not looking forward to Part 2. Let’s say I watched Blind so you don’t have to.

This review was filed from FrightFest 2020. You can check our full coverage of the festival by clicking these words.


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