Monday, October 25, 2010

Eyes Beyond (2010)

Two brothers share the same house. One day they invite their next door neighbors over for a house warming dinner. What the neighbors don’t realize is that everything is not as it seems with the brothers and they soon find themselves in a game of ultimate humiliation and degradation. They’re at the mercy of their captors and the only thing that can release them from the nightmare is death – or is it?

When I first started watching this short 26-minute film, I figured it would be another boring torture flick. The two brothers do some pretty nasty things to their guests, but no matter how shocking the torture was, I just couldn’t seem to get into the film. Luckily, things get interesting pretty quick and any assumptions I had about the plot got turned topsy-turvy.

The film is best seen going in blind and I don’t want to give too much away, but I must mention that the filmmakers aim in making the film was to bring awareness to mental illness. In fact, the film is very personal to writer/director/producer/actor Daniel Reininghaus, as he himself deals with bi-polar disorder. He wanted to create this film to not only bring awareness to mental illness, but to also reach out to others with mental illness that could relate with the character(s).

Speaking of the characters, all of the actors did a superb job portraying them. Daniel Reininghaus was especially brilliant as Gabrielle, one of the two brothers who tortures the neighbors. I loved his character arch and the many surprises that are unveiled. All of the other actors did a fantastic job as well, not an easy thing to boast in an independent film, especially considering each character’s multi-faceted development.

As I mentioned before, there is a fair amount of gruesome torture at the beginning of the film. Ears and fingers are cut off, people are beaten and raped and other violence is meted out to the unfortunate neighbors. For a low-budget picture, the quality was impressive! Even for a seasoned horror fan like me there were instances where I was cringing.

Also impressive for an independent short was the overall high quality of the picture. The film looked professional without looking too slick. I also appreciated that there was an important message embedded in the film and that it aspired to do more than to just show bloody torture. Writer/director/producer Daniel Reininghaus and his cast and crew should be commended for tackling such a personal project and succeeding brilliantly.

Eyes Beyond is a very dark psychological film that is as disturbing as it is enlightening. Not only will horror fans be pleased by this hallucinogenic journey, but those that suffer mental illness will also appreciate its message of awareness. From the harrowing performances to the gruesome torture to the surprising twists and overall message, Eyes Beyond is a short film that shouldn’t be missed.

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