Cast & Crew info:
Sean Cw Johnson
Produced by Tim
Bevan, Eric Fellner, Jonathan Finn, Alan Greenspan, David
Hilton, Jane Villiers, Natascha Wharton, Christopher Zimmer;
Directed by Marc Evans; Screenwritten by David
Hilton and James Watkins
Rated R for strong violence and sexuality, pervasive
language and some drug use; Running Time - 95 Minutes
Domestic Release Dates:
June 6, 2003
by DAVID KEYES
conventional is never a direct goal for anyone who sets
out to conceive a notable cinematic product, but "My
Little Eye" may very well be the first film I have
seen in ages that intentionally exercises all the big horror
movie clichés in order to process its plot. What's
even scarier, perhaps more than any frame of it that materializes
on screen, is that the movie doesn't even know why it is
going this route: if it's trying to give twisted new spins
to old ideas or is simply too dimwitted to manufacture new
ones. Even the film's technique is a ponderous approach,
purposely styled after the "Blair Witch" phenomenon
to, I guess, add a touch of visual realism to the concept.
But there is almost nothing authentic or even captivating
about the end result itself; during its tiresome 95-minute
screen run, we never feel involved, we're never fascinated,
and we're not interested in what happens to anyone or why
it happens to them in the first place.
be fair, the result of endless formula rehashing might have
inspired an interesting result had anyone involved looked
at the idea with any kind of humor or heart. But "My
Little Eye" doesn't care about any of that; it is an
embarrassment to the definition of movie horror, a picture
without backbone, vision or focus, exercised by its own
unhealthy obsession with narrative backpedaling. No one
here is actually watching a film as much as they're watching
a filmed strategy, and though the premise may exhibit desire
for developing on that, it all veers off the map of plausibility.
Not only does the movie fail to make us part of its reality,
it fails the most basic relevancy test as well.
film opens with an ominous message spreading to the farthest
reaches of cyberspace-if you would like to earn a
million dollars, you can do so by agreeing to spend six
months in a house with four other strangers while cameras
broadcast your experience on the Internet. The catchif
anyone leaves the house, no one gets the money. We then
see five faces from audition videos scrawl across the screen,
their ambitious faces trying to explain why they should
be selected to live in this "Big Brother"-style
environment (typical excuse: "I want the money,"
or "I want to be famous"). The five are then seen
climbing a snowcapped hill to their destination: an old
rickety house out in the middle of nowhere, almost as cold
on the inside as out. They joke about the scenario, then
enter the building, waiting for their lives to get underway
for the cameras.
then the movie suddenly jumps six months into the game...
or at least I think it does. During a recent press screening
for the film, an uninformed theater employee started up
the movie projector a half hour before scheduled show time,
right before being asked by the studio representative to
halt it just beyond the introductory sequences. Thirty minutes
later, the projector started right back up, as scheduled,
but it almost seemed as if a good chunk of film between
the first and second launches had been skipped over (timing
the clock with the intended running time suggests, however,
that only about five minutes of film were probably not seen).
Do the five characters say anything significant in that
potentially overlooked segment of celluloid? Is there any
crucial twist that we miss? Probably not. But in any case,
we're left with the feeling that we've severely missed somethingthe
movie lacks a substantial setup beyond name introductions,
and it throws everyone right into the middle of the dilemma
before the characters even seem to realize they're in one.
what exactly is the dilemma, you ask? The answer remains
sketchy at best. In the first half hour, "My Little
Eye" shows us five ordinary human beingstwo women,
three menwho are just as clueless about things as
we are. They talk about their lives (briefly), and remark
about how creepy the house is. They hear strange noises
in the attic. They get odd packages left at their doorstep,
and notes addressed to specific house contestants are delivered,
containing information that not even the producers of this
particular reality show should be able to know. Eventually,
after weighing the amount of irony and coincidence that
has accompanied them to this place, the house mates finally
realize that what they have been caught up in may not be
the innocent reality webcast that they were told it would
be. But should they leave because of that fear? After all,
the prize is still a million dollars, which is a lot of
cash to abandon simply because someone fears what may or
may not even happen out there.
movie was shot in Nova Scotia, a place that, like Georgetown
and Burkittsville, will no doubt be bombarded by horror
devotees in the near future who would like to catch a glimpse
of sites that appear in the film (although I'm doubtful
that anyone who seeks something out up there will actually
be doing so because they thought the movie was good enough
to warrant a trip). In fairness, director Marc Evans chooses
the ideal setting for this sort of hysteria to manifest,
but he fails to establish a tolerable sense of camerawork
for it to actually pulsate (having web cams staggered on
the property line is an acceptable gimmick, but who honestly
believes that these cameras can always maintain a clear
and focused picture when it's snowing like mad outside?).
The script, meanwhile, stutters wildly around like it has
no bowel control, throwing out idea after idea without realizing
just how often they've been seen before. Even the "reality
television" element of the screenplay, obviously used
to provide the material with a modern twist, is badly implored
here; trite, unskilled and obviously dramatized, it winds
up feeling almost as synthetic as actual reality shows do.
ending of the movie is so bad that it warrants not one but
two groans of displeasure, the first after a character reveals
the truth of the situation, the second in response to a
moment when the supposed villain looks onto his victim and
then becomes the victim of a predictably bloody fate himself.
The resolution is amateurish and rushed, yes, but that's
just a surface scratch-it insults us on an intellectual
level as well by suggesting that we don't carry enough logic
around to actually understand what's going on at that point,
even when it was spelled out for us long before an ending
was in sight. Now that I think about it, maybe seeing the
antagonist's brains being blown out during the final moment
of shock is not so bad after all. At least it means he or
she won't have to treat the viewer like an idiot again.
© 2003, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
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if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.