Eyes of Crystal / Occhi di cristallo (2004)

4.5 out of 5

This latter-day giallo from director Eros Puglielli packs a fair punch. Co-written by Argento's frequent script collaborator Franco Ferrini, the story deals with grimly determined and slightly disturbed cop-with-a-past Giacomo, Luigi Do Cascio, and his hunt for a deranged killer with a penchant for human taxidermy.

Many elements of the classic giallo are in place, coming, naturally enough, through a noughties cipher of Thomas Harris and Seven. Proceedings are further enlivened by the welcome presence of old-time genre veteran Simon Andreu as a brain tumour suffering police captain who appears to be somehow connected to the killer. Do Cascio, a likable lead with a passing resemblance to a young Roman Polanski, puts in an excellent performance.

With some genuinely disturbing moments, Occhi di cristallo is compelling throughout, the only real criticism being that the last reel doesn't quite hold up to the promise of what has gone before. It may lack some of the sleazier angles that made the old-time gialli so much fun, but it's a far superior film to many of them - even if it did fail spectacularly in making any money at the box office.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics