Heavy on atmosphere and cloaked in an air of mystery and art house style, this film is very different from the average horror movie. At its hear though is a French retelling/twisting of previous so called "monster movies." There's something here that engrossed me, and required me to actually engage my brain. Something that all too many horror films do not actually require, although that's not necessarily a bad thing.
The "mad scientist" is the father of a horribly disfigured girl. A prominent plastic surgeon, he blames himself for her mangled face, ruined beyond almost all repair. In desperation, he has his lovely assistant kidnap young women; all in a vein attempts to give his daughter her face back. She has become a monster to a degree, inspiring pity in a handful of lyrical scenes. And yet with the blurry, quick glimpse of the terrible scaring, she frightens and horrifies the viewer. All of this reminds me in a way of Frankenstein's monster and other creatures who were born out of certain horrible experiences, and while also being somewhat sad due to not having the capacity to to live a "normal existence."
In this case, I have to note that the film doesn't completely sustain the rich, built up atmosphere. Although the musical score, which reminds me of the score for Little Shop of Horrors(1960) sounds like a demonic carnival, does work despite what some otherwise say. It works because by the final frame, we have witnessed something truly bizarre. There is of course also thoughts on beauty and how society prizes beauty to the point where it becomes vanity, but I thought that was rather obvious and not as important.
Besides all this, "Eyes" is a clear example of how horror can contribute to cinematic art, that the genre is much more than gore and random violence. For that alone it deserves to be noted, perhaps even celebrated. Although it falls short of greatness, this is a film that stands a very good chance of cracking my ever evolving Horror Top 50. 90