Wanted: five strangers to spend six months in a house, with their every move broadcast on the web. If no one leaves, they'll split a million dollars. It's the newest in reality entertainment, but it may be the last thing... more » these five people ever do. Each of them is being put to the test by outside forces, which prey on their worst fears. Is it all a challenge to see if they'll last? Or, is someone playing a deadly game with their lives?« less
"I began groaning within minutes of starting director Marc Evans's low budget horror film "My Little Eye." Why, you ask? Well, it looked, sounded, and generally felt like one of those shot on video disasters routinely released by companies like Sub Rosa. If you have spent even a small amount of time plumbing the depths of zero budget horror films, you know what I am talking about. Sub Rosa distributes the absolute worst movies imaginable, films so terribly awful that any sane viewer of such dreck immediately feels like lobbying Washington for some sort of legalized ban on this sort of stuff. The only saving grace in this situation, and I mean the only one, is occasionally stumbling over something of quality. Such a diamond in the rough might still need some polishing, might not shine as brightly as the viewer would hope, but said diamond is still worth watching. "My Little Eye" constitutes such a bright spot. It is hopelessly low budget, painfully so, but all the elements come together in the end to deliver a truly frightening experience that studio films operating with better actors, bigger budgets, and better special effects cannot seem to muster. This one is a winner.
"My Little Eye" is a story about a group of young adults who sign up to take part in an Internet reality type show requiring them to live in a remote cabin for several months. If even one of them leaves before the year is up, no one wins the one million dollar prize. Lots of web cams adorn the walls and ceilings of the house so people can watch the contestants every move. The cameras can even capture images in the dark, which will come in handy when the scares start to flow. See why I started groaning? The idea of a horror movie based on the Internet evokes memories of "Feardotcom" and other bad films. It gets worse, at least initially. All of the characters are cliches: the promiscuous Charlie (Jennifer Sky), the overbearing jerk Rex (Kris Lemche), the sensitive girl Emma (Laura Regan), a guy named Danny (Stephen O'Reilly) whose crush on Emma knows no bounds, and the enigmatic Matt (Sean CW Johnson). If you aren't groaning just reading this, you haven't watched enough horror movies. But something wonderful is about to happen; it just takes awhile to get there. You have to wait patiently through all of the little quarrels, all of the little political games that go on between the various characters, before the horrors begin to emerge with frightening regularity. For example, how interesting is it to watch Rex hoarding cigarettes and other supplies underneath the floorboards in his room? Not very.
Don't worry, though, as things heat up in a hurry. Odd noises in the house start scaring the contestants, and objects left in beds and other places soon turn these individuals against one another. Most frightening of all, the person scaring everyone seems to know exactly how best to deliver the frights; he or she knows dark secrets about the contestants' pasts. By the time a clueless hiker named Travis (Bradley Cooper) shows up at the house, events take on a decidedly sinister tone. Travis claims to know all about computers yet has never heard anything about this particular reality show, a revelation that comes as a huge surprise to our contestants because they learned upon signing on that the game would receive a lot of publicity. Hmmm. One of the contestants soon figures out how to rig up a link to the Internet, and the news isn't good. Extensive searches reveal nothing about their particular game, except for one restricted site that gives a few ominous clues as to what is really going on. No spoilers here, but from this point forward "My Little Eye" turns into a bloodbath steeped in nihilism. Nothing is as it seems and no hope for salvation exists.
I can't remember the last time I saw a film this bleak, this utterly downbeat. Most horror films will always give the audience an "out" at some point, usually manifesting itself in some good triumphing over a horrible evil that lets us all go home happy campers. Don't expect to feel good when "My Little Eye" wraps up--unless you hate the film. I don't think most horror fans will dislike this one, though. It's downright creepy, due in large part to the numerous web cam shots spliced into the film. The nighttime views are especially eerie, with people's eyes looking like silver coins in the unnatural green lighting. As for the actors, they do a good job considering all of them are unrecognizable names. Most of the movie focuses on these people and how they interact with one another, so we come to know them and their quirks quite well--always a good thing in a horror movie. If you can't care about the characters, the viewer is unlikely to feel much of anything when they inevitably perish in horrible ways. There is certainly a time and a place for mindless slaughter in a gorefest, but it's nice to watch a horror movie from time to time that tries to elevate the characters above mere cannon fodder. "My Little Eye" accomplishes that.
Extras on the disc include a commentary with director Marc Evans, a commentary track that allows us to "eavesdrop" on the people running the game (called "The Company"), a making of featurette, lengthy (and wisely) deleted scenes, and cast auditions. It's low budget obviousness aside, "My Little Eye" is a scary film that hits all the right notes on the way to its horrible denouement. Even better, its effectiveness elevates it far above anything you are likely to see from the likes of Sub Rosa or the other schlock horror outlets. Give this one a shot.
If You Ever Wanted To Be On "Big Brother", This Creepy Indie
K. Harris | Las Vegas, NV | 01/08/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After sampling a lot of high brow films in recent days, I decided to take another look at a film that had thoroughly entertained me (in a much different way) on first viewing. "My Little Eye" is a B-movie thriller that I discovered quite by accident a couple of years ago and went on to purchase. While I will make no claim that this film is great "art," it's creepy and effective--if not altogether logical. Most of the scenes are filmed through "Big Brother" type cameras and it's not always believable from a technological standpoint. But surrendering yourself to the experience, without over-thinking the setup, you might get caught up in a pretty suspenseful little film. Keep in mind, however, that this is a small movie that's more about dialogue and clever scripting to generate a tense mood--as opposed to big effects or thrills.
Five strangers are brought together to a desolate house for a 24/7 webcast. If they stay together for six months, with no one leaving, they will split a million dollar prize. Our young and attractive cast are eager to seek Internet fame and fortune and jump right into the experience. Most of the film takes place during the last week of their adventure as they ready themselves to leave. As supplies get sparse and mysterious things start to happen, the film really does a nice job of building a slow and believable suspense. The characters interact as real people would and their relationships start to sour as they (and we) try to figure out what is happening. This is a psychological set piece, really, but one that becomes more and more ominous as the film progresses. Let's only say that it won't be an easy week!
I enjoyed the way that this film was shot--much of the action takes place on night vision cameras which adds a genuine creepiness to even mundane actions. A lot of other viewers have criticized the actors--and while maybe they aren't all master thespians, I thought they were perfect for this film. Having watched way too many hours of reality TV, I think these kids exemplified the narcissism and selfishness rampant in the medium. It made the proceedings all the more believable, in my opinion.
By the end, we have some scary moments and the resolution is only vaguely defined--just enough to provide superficial closure (once again overlooking some of the technical logic). But I recommend this film, maybe because it was a "discovery". With no expectations, I found the film to be a rewarding experience. I've shown it to friends, as well, with no build up and they've all liked it. Rated on the B-movie scale, this is a 4 star entertainment. Give it a shot if you like this sort of thing, works really well too if you're a reality TV fan. KGHarris, 01/07."
Overall very good thriller movie
S. Simon | Seattle, WA USA | 09/19/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Word of Caution: Do not read the 1 star review listed lower in the listing called "My Big Disappointment" because the reviewer spoils the entire movie in the first 3 sentences without first warning you of this.
OK, now as for this movie goes, I did not find it scary, but I did find that it was a great thriller movie.
5 people signed up online to live in a remote farmhouse for 6 months to win 6 million dollars from an unknown company that is doing a Big Brother spy camera type deal.
The movie takes place within the last week of their stay when things suddenly take a turn for the worse. The contestants believe they are on an Internet competition to stay in this farmhouse for the six months. However, what appears to be a straightforward competition might not be what it seems.
Subtle clues are left throughout this movie for you to figure out what the real point of this competition is.
What makes this movie so thrilling is that these 5 contestants have absolutely no clue where they are which gives a sense of total isolation. Based on the dialog, they were brought into this remote farmhouse by helicopter (probably blind folded). There is absolutely nothing around as far as the eye can see except for a freezing cold snow covered forest.
The gore (and yes there is some) is not too graphic which is fine as I view this movie as an intense thriller rather than a horror movie.
In spite of my 4 star rating, I do have some problems with this film though.
1) If the contestants decide they no longer wish to participate on the show, the first thing I would do is to destroy all the cameras throughout the home. Without the cameras, there is no show. No one does this.
2) Why do these 5 kids accept that this unknown company has the ability to pay them a million dollars? They never actually see any advertisements prior to leaving for the show because they were told the advertisements would begin once they are in the house. The kids accept that this company is loaded because of the money spent of the farmhouse, the food brought in, and the helicopter used to deliver the kids to the farmhouse. But these are sort of after the fact. I think I would expect anyone to do more due diligence prior to embarking on such an adventure.
3) If they suspect something is wrong, then why not apply the principle of safety in numbers. Common sense would imply that all kids would keep close together at all times in one room but this doesn't happen.
4) Once one person realized what he might be involved in while gaining temporary Internet access, why not summon for assistance while he had the opportunity rather than waste valuable time showing the other people what this may or may not be about.
5) Where are the family and friends of these kids? Surely, they would be concerned about what is happening if they see their children or loved ones frightened while watching the web broadcast or worse, afraid if they did not see them on the web broadcast at all.
Despite these 5 short comings, the film is extremely enjoyable."
A horror film that's actually....horrifying!
j.s. | Bloomington, IN United States | 05/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although this little straight to video ditty doesn't look like much based upon its plot and cover design (which is actually a little silly), its quite a bit better than you'd expect... The plot (5 young people living in a house for an online "Big Brother" type reality show) seems all too familiar, and almost like a rip-off of films like "The Blair Witch Project," but it's actually very enjoyable when it gets going. So, these 5 kids are house bound in this ultra-creepy house in the middle of nowhere and are promised large sums of money if they can live in the house for a set amount of time (5 months maybe?) and no one leaves. The film begins during their last week in the house when things start to go "bump" in the night and get a little creepy. Are the creators trying to scare them out of the house so they can keep their money? Or is something truly sinister going on? The film's first 2/3s are genuinely chilling...but a little slow pased. If you are expecting a quick moving slasher pick, then this is not the film for you. Patient viewers will be rewarded in full in the films last 1/3. The mysteries that arise throughout the film are revealed and the payoff is quite grand and scary. It's "Blair Witch" with better video quality and a much more literal (and on-screen) climax. My main complaint with the film is its big "twist" ending. Its a little far-fetched and unrealistic. It COULD happen, but its kind of unlikely. Still, a true (and patient) horror fan will surely appreciate this sly little film. In the end, it delivers...and it'll knock your socks off."
An Aesthetically Good Time
M. Gilbert | Brooklyn, NY | 06/17/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"There is something entrancing about Marc Evans' film "My Little Eye". However, it's not the story. While I do enjoy its predictable plot twists to the same degree I enjoy watching the same film over and over again (though I know what's about to happen -I'd like to watch them go through it), I find myself caring more about the way it looks than what's going on.
The concept of having the entire film seen through these tiny web-cams was executed beautifully. No big steadicam shots, no traditional coverage; we can only see what their cameras see at their pace. So, the reaction shot will be off-time, but that's the fun of seeing it. The video quality is entrancing and you're watching these people as you would watch an actual webcast -and you don't get to know them... you simply just want to see them interact and there is the reality TV aspect of it: where you want to see them get mad, have sex, freak out and know you're so completely detached from what's going on that you don't feel threatened. Hence, my non-affiliation with any of the principal players. Though Kris Lemche's performance is great to watch and once the hacking scene comes in, he begins to steal the film, acting-wise.
It's a slow starting film and it doesn't get really hands-to-the-armrest-engaging until the last (very eerie) twenty minutes. Sure, it's re-exploring the stomping ground of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and the ending's blueprint ripped straight from the school of "Blair Witch", but in the sake of way their concept is being frighteningly carried out through these security cameras -it is still engaging. By no means in the way that it provides a pseudo-realism because it's on video -more the fact, that it's hyper-stylized and we are so separated from what's going on that we're perversely wanting to see them get killed off one by one.
I don't applaud it as a completed work; I applaud as a bold experiment that got half of its hypothesis right and the other half wrong. With the right performances and right structure inside of said visual concept -it could've been a fantastic horror film. But it's simply eye-candy, and that isn't wrong -it's just what it is."