Wednesday, July 5, 2017

#2,377. My Little Eye (2002)


Directed By: Marc Evans

Starring: Sean Cw Johnson, Kris Lemche, Stephen O'Reilly




Tag line: "Fear Is Not Knowing. Terror Is Finding Out"

Trivia: Emily Perkins was considered for the role of Emma







Drawing inspiration from reality-based television programs such as Big Brother, director Marc Evans’ 2002 film My Little Eye tells the story of five total strangers: Rex (Kris Lemche), Matt (Sean CW Johnson), Charlie (Jennifer Sky), Dan (Stephen O’Reilly), and Emma (Laura Regan), who agree to spend 6 months together in an isolated house, after which they’ll be awarded $1 million in cash.

It’s all part of a brand new internet-based series, for which hundreds of webcams, both inside and outside the house, will be watching their every move. There are a few rules that must be obeyed: the contestants are not permitted, under any circumstances, to wander outside once the sun goes down; and should any of the five decide to end the experiment prematurely, none of them will be paid. Despite some early hiccups, the group has nonetheless managed to live together amicably for 5+months, and with only a handful of days left to go, it looks as if they’re going to make it to the end.

But a string of frightening events, all of which occur in a few days’ time, has Rex, Matt, and the others wondering who it is that’s controlling the situation, and how far that person (or persons) is willing to go to prevent them from collecting their money.

In keeping with the premise of his film, director Evans shoots the entirety of My Little Eye with a series of webcams, the very ones that are supposedly watching the lead characters every minute of every day. Fortunately, with so many webcams scattered throughout the house (some in locations so unusual that that the participants themselves don’t know about them), the movie still manages to be visually exciting. Occasionally, the camera placements are even kinda creepy (in what might be the film’s eeriest scene, we discover that a camera has been hidden inside a pen, allowing viewers to see what one character is jotting down in her private journal). 

Yet as disturbing as the CCTV-style footage can be at times, it’s the film’s central location, a large house in the middle of nowhere, that’s sure to give you the willies. With nothing but a barren, snowy landscape as far as the eye can see, we get the sense that this structure is hundreds of miles from civilization, kicking the tension up a notch or two the moment events begin to spiral out of control.

The actors portraying the five contestants are fine in their respective roles, and do a good job conveying the fear and paranoia that would naturally set in once things start getting weird (the standout performance is delivered by Kris Lemche, whose Rex is the most determined of the bunch, convincing the others time and again that the strange occurrences are likely being orchestrated by the company that hired them). And look for Academy-Award nominee Bradley Cooper in a brief but memorable role as a lost traveler (who may know more about the house and its occupants than he’s letting on).

While its story is indeed a familiar one (paranoid characters, cut off from the rest of the world, doing what they can to survive a potentially dangerous situation), My Little Eye is unique enough in its approach to ensure that even seasoned genre fans won’t be experiencing déjà vu. As stylish as it is unsettling, My Little Eye is independent horror done right.







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