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

Inspired by reality-based TV programs like Big Brother, director Marc Evans’ 2002 film My Little Eye tells the story of five total strangers - aka Rex (Kris Lemche), Matt (Sean CW Johnson), Charlie (Jennifer Sky), Dan (Stephen O’Reilly), and Emma (Laura Regan) - who agree to spend six months together in an isolated house. If they stay to the end, they will be rewarded with one million dollars in cash.

It’s all part of a brand new internet-based series, and hundreds of webcams, both in 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. Also, if any of the five quit the experiment and leave early, none will be paid.

Despite some early hiccups, the group finds a way to live together, amicably, for over five months. 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 occurring within a few days, has Rex, Matt, and the others wondering who exactly is in control of their situation, and how far that person (or persons) will go to prevent them from collecting the money.

Keeping with the premise of his film, director Evans shoots the entirety of My Little Eye with webcams, the very ones set up to watch the lead characters every minute of every day. Fortunately, with so many webcams scattered throughout the house, some in locations so unusual that the participants themselves have never found them, the movie still manages to be visually exciting. Occasionally, the camera placements are even creepy. In what might be the film’s eeriest scene, we discover that a camera has been hidden inside a ballpoint pen, allowing viewers to see what one character is jotting down in her private journal.

Yet as disturbing as the CCTV-style footage is at times, it’s the film’s central location, a large house in the middle of nowhere, that will give you the willies. With nothing but a barren, snowy landscape as far as the eye can see, we get a sense that this structure is hundreds of miles from civilization, kicking the tension into high gear the moment events start spiraling out of control.

The actors are fine in their respective roles, and do a good job conveying the fear and paranoia that would naturally set in once things get 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 being orchestrated by the company that recruited them. And look for Academy-Award nominee Bradley Cooper in a brief but memorable appearance as a lost traveler who may know more about the house and its occupants than he’s letting on.

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


James Robert Smith said...

Damn. I'll have to see if I can find this one.

CpT GoThMcLaD said...

I loved it at the time I remember it being very polarising though most people hated it