My Little Eye Reviews
The biggest problem I have, the one niggling doubt I had through this whole entire film, was the big question: Why were they in this house to begin with?
Yes, according to the plot, it was because they were part of a webcam series, based on subscription fees and ads, or at least that's what they were "told". Told how? Were they contacted randomly through e-mail or phone calls? Was it friend of a friend communication? Regardless, it isn't until halfway through the film do they realize that they can't even find the site through search engines, leading me to wonder what their response was to begin with. "Oh, I can stay in a big house, and so long as none of us leaves, we all get a million dollars each? Sounds cool to me, I won't even bother looking up what site this is and who's doing this!" Not to mention they make special note that cameras are all over the house, including the bedrooms and bathrooms, meaning literally no privacy in the slightest, and it shouldn't take one long to figure out something's fishy.
The plot twists are pretty much predictable if you're even a slight veteran of the horror film genre, and even that might be giving it too much credit; I'm fairly certain a working brain and trying to figure out the twists would do the job. Only one character out of the whole thing has any sort of development, and let's just say that doesn't really go anywhere.
Overall, not worth the view, unless you're on a spree to see every horror film ever.
How many times have you seen a group of people offered a million dollars to stay in a creepy house? Anyways, at least the characters were interesting.
Has a cool sex scene with Peaches
WRITTEN BY: David Hilton and James Watkins
DIRECTED BY: Marc Evans
FEATURING: Sean Cw Johnson, Kris Lemche, Stephen O'Reilly, Laura Regan, Jennifer Sky, Bradley Cooper, Nick Mennell
TAGS: thriller, mystery, horror
RATING: 7 PINTS OF BLOOD
PLOT: Five contestants live on a reality webcast in a remote mansion, but when everything starts to go horribly wrong, is it by accident or design?
COMMENTS: Wait! I know what you're thinking! This movie is actually quite good! It's not a stupid teen slasher or a reality show! OK, actually it's about a reality show -like the TV game show, Big Brother, in which contestants are confined to a specially designed house, cut off from the outside world as in Bio-Dome. In My Little Eye however, the house is a decrepit, Gothic country estate, and it's really way the hell out in the snow-bound middle of nowhere.
My Little Eye was shot way back in 2002, but it never made it to US screens. Viewer feedback indicates that Big Brother fans don't like this film. It doesn't depict a reality with which they're comfortable.
It does however, make for a pretty good horror movie. The appeal to My Little Eye is in our trying to guess a step ahead of the action. As in similar films which begin with the same basic premise - a group of people brought together by an outside entity for an unknown purpose -Cube (1998), Saw (2004), The Killing Room (2009), Exam (2010), Open Grave (2014 -reviewed last month) -tension builds as ensuing plot points suggest and then eliminate numerous macabre possibilities.
In My Little Eye, the obligatory five stereotypical characters enter a contest. The players are credible at least; and not too unlikable. They're the ditsy, Generation X types you expect. The contest? Spend 6 months together isolated in a country manor for 1 million dollars. If anyone gives up and leaves, nobody collects.
What are the odds that they will win?
(Turning down lights, holding flashlight under chin.) What are the odds that the producers are up to something?
The later proposition might indeed be correct, or at least, that's what we start to wonder. The film's effective, brief intro bypasses corny exposition, and after the first three minutes, the film picks up the story a couple of weeks from the show's conclusion. The contestants are now jaded, bored, and planning how to spend the money.
Then the heat goes out and the food deliveries cease. A saferoom which is supposed to be camera-free turns out to be fully wired for sight and sound. The weekly supply drop-off consists of booze and a loaded handgun. What could go wrong with that idea? We're about to find out as a cloud of suspicion and paranoia descends upon the group like a Baby Ruth candy bar sinking to the bottom of a punch bowl.
Who is watching this reality show? If we knew, we might be able to discern answers. In the meantime, the voyeuristic camera angles make us feel complicit. There's something sinister about these cameras which seem almost to stalk the inhabitants, capturing their most intimate moments in both light and dark, even in the bathrooms.
My Little Eye isn't one of those pieces which is presented on surveillance cam as a cheap gimmick. The film looks and flows like any good movie. The camera work is skillful, with creative use of fixed positions to suggest that what we see is only that which the web cameras see. This is enhanced by actual surveillance camera computer screens with green time stamps, zooming in, employing night vision, etc. Minimal use of these shots creates atmosphere without being distracting.
Due to the filmmakers' good sense of style, the effect is eerie rather than annoying. The feeling is that we witness what we would see if we were peeping in windows -which in effect we are, because we've become the audience of the broadcast. Or have we?
We behold a rapid breakdown of the show's arrangement into a treacherous bog of hostility with fatal undertones. There's no control or supervision from the outside world. The players are given no guidance for handling troubling developments.
To the contrary, the stage is set to encourage a total loss of the social contract. My Little Eye's suspense is centered in the fact that neither we nor the participants can glean where all this is going. What are the true intentions of the show's producers? Is there someone else on the property? Is the house haunted? There is something more going on than just the contest. The producers read our thoughts, acknowledging and dismissing each possibility in turn. What the devil then, is the point of all this?
If the reality show concept is familiar, then My Little Eye's story takes a novel twist. The devil is in the details. If the contestants are willing to be stripped of all privacy -essentially dehumanized and probed, in an increasingly threatening situation, then what kind of people are watching?
Six fools agree to live in one house for six months. They get a million dollars if they succeed. Does the desire for money overcome one's other obligations?
Part of the proceedings occur in the Canadian winter, and the furnace breaks down.
Are the crows and owls in the attic bad omens or just something one should expect (cold winter, relatively warm attic)?
The packages from the outside tend to contain messages to the individuals. The six contestants always hope for food. During the film they get bricks (sad tale from the younger days of one of the women) and a letter notifying the death in the family of one of the contestants; the next package has champagne and a gun (gun violence in the past of one of the men).
The 'bloody' hammer next to one of the women in bed one morning was a further shift.
A visitor drops in who is an internet programmer. He's never heard of them. Not a good sign. Before leaving, the visitor steals a piece of Emma's underwear and hides it in Danny's room. Emma feels OK invading everyone else's space. Great stuff.
Soon after the visitor leaves they find some of his gear near the drop site with blood on it.
Emma keeps asserting his guilt; Danny hangs himself. Game over, according to the rules. They radio for help. No one responds.
Rex cobbles together an internet connection. He cannot find any reference to their contest. Hence no subscribers. The company that planned the contest has a stub beta site with heavy encryption, or so it seems.
Then they get to see the betting odds on each of their characters. As in many mysteries, it's 'follow the money.'
Cinematography: 7/10 Better than webcam quality, but not always by much. Some of the exteriors were just fine. The split screens (multiple points of view) were sometimes interesting. The switches from narration filming (good, steady, well done) to the POV of the reality show camera people (so-so to poor webcams) is a little jarring.
Sound: 4/10 Bad microphone problems, but incidental sounds are much creepier than the oddly planned visuals.
Acting: 5/10 Fine if you like twenty-somethings who still reside in the teen maturity range.
Screenplay: 9/10 Initial objectives seem clear enough. The actual objectives take time to surface. It's an old theme (snuff films) updated to the Internet setting (online betting, current video).
The cast is horrible, the dialogue is cliche after cliche ('You know what I miss? The ocean..'), there's nothing scary, and very little blood. The 'twist' is visible from a mile away and yet...
The mounting tensions between our protagonists and their secret pasts arriving inside boxes where their food should be are undeveloped, but they are there, and coupled with the eerie night vision, and the superb sound, and er.. Peaches' Fuck The Pain Away the whole thing holds together through the end. It could be, it should be, much much worse.
I do recommend this film as it is enjoyable, but if you want something similar that I would say is a lot better then watch 'Cabin In the Woods', a film that goes full throttle with its satire and tongue-in-cheek campiness, whilst not scary either, it was promoted more as a sci-fi/horror/satire parody and thus delivers its message more clearly.
Also, see if you can spot a small supporting role from a young Bradley Cooper in this flick, the man who, 10 years later, would get an Oscar nomination.