Thursday, June 25, 2009

My Little Eye (2002)

You really can’t seem to flip channels without coming across some reality show. Whether you are Keeping Up with the Kardashians, hanging with The Girls Next Door, taking in Deadliest Catch or another one of the hundreds of reality shows, there is a glut of reality programming that shows no signs of slowing down. Are we really that obsessed with watching other people’s lives instead of living our own?

Our reality show contestants in My Little Eye certainly hope that’s true, especially since they’ve entered in a contest where they must survive six months in an isolated, creepy old house with every second of their tenure there filmed for an eager, voyeuristic audience. At the end of the six months, they will all get a nice paycheck of $1 million…but there’s a catch. If any of them leave before the six months are up, then none of them get any of the dough.

The film picks up during the last week or so of their six month sentence, and everyone is particularly antsy. Snow is falling thick and heavy outside and supplies are dwindling. Not to mention that the myriad of cameras installed within the house follow their every move. With just mere days to go, strange things start happening. One of the guys gets a letter saying his grandpa has died and funeral services will be held before his time on the show is up. Another girl finds an eerie phrase from her childhood written on one of the windows and a bloody hammer in her bed. The group begins receiving strange “supplies” – like a box of bricks and a loaded gun. Then, a lost skier stumbles upon their house and claims he’s never heard or seen anything about their reality show. Is the reality show company responsible for these strange occurrences? Are they trying to trick them out of their hard-earned cash? Is it all being done to boost ratings? Or is something more sinister going on?

Horror films that feature a reality show usually don’t fare too well (see Halloween: Resurrection), but My Little Eye is different. It is full of tension, interesting characters and an intriguing storyline that will have you guessing until the end. Though it starts slow, with the group suffering from cabin fever from being cooped up in a house all this time, it does a good job in slowly building dread. Things just get creepier and creepier, until the satisfying ending that will just leave you saying, “wow…”

I also love how the film is shot and all the action is captured on the cameras that are wired throughout the house. Whether the action occurs in creepy green-tinged night vision or is seen through a grate in the bathroom, it really gives the film a voyeuristic edge, almost as if you were watching a snuff film. I’m not sure what the logistics were in the shooting of the film, but it truly does look like it was all shot on those security cameras! Fantastic job by director Marc Evans!

The story, written by David Hilton and James Watkins (Eden Lake and the upcoming The Descent 2), is a slow-burn but one that immediately sucks you in, especially when strange occurrences start happening and the pace picks up. There are also a few nice surprises toward the end that caught me off guard and grab your attention!

The characters are all pretty likable or at least interesting. There’s bad-boy Rex (Kris Lemche), sexy Charlie (Jennifer Sky), all-American Matt (Sean CW Johnson), sensitive Danny (Stephen O’Reilly) and skittish Emma (Laura Regan). Their interactions and relationships with each other ring true and it really does feel like they’ve been roommates for the last 5+ months. Each of them has their own dark secrets, which slowly come to light as they are tested in their last week or so of the show.

The acting was surprisingly great, with all the actors giving solid, believable performances. Laura Regan really gave a stand-out performance as the fragile Emma, but the rest of the cast was equally impressive. There is even an appearance by Bradley Cooper (The Hangover, Midnight Meat Train) where he plays the lost skier. It was quite a pleasant surprise to see him in this film!

Now, this film is more about building tension than showering the audience with blood, so there isn’t that much gore. Again, though, this doesn’t hurt the film at all! Instead, when the grue finally does show up at the end of the movie it makes much more of an impact than had it been shown throughout the entire film! There is one particularly nasty scene at the end involving someone’s head getting unexpectedly blown open that is really an “oh sh*t!” moment!

My Little Eye is a suspenseful film that relies on the mystery of the characters’ situation to keep your attention. Its slow-burn works extremely well in building up a tremendous amount of tension, and it also helps that we actually care about the characters and want to know as much as they do who is pulling the strings and behind the strange occurrences. Not too many people have seen this movie, and that’s quite a shame! It is a gem of a horror movie that deserves more fans!

What do I spy with My Little Eye? A fantastic horror movie, that’s what! Now go check it out!

Available from Amazon!

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