Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Five Across The Eyes (2006).


Five high school girls get lost in the backwoods and are chased for the entirety of the film by a psychopathic killer (also female - here's a nice promo image of her).


Even though the DVD artwork hints at a higher budget, the moment I saw the Imagination Worldwide logo glowing on screen, I got flashbacks of The Hamiltons (review here) and knew exactly what was in store: not the worst movie ever but more than likely one which, a couple more drafts and edits down the line, could have been greatly improved upon.

To start with the good: the low budget look and feel does lend itself nicely to the more grisly moments. Watching someone getting their teeth bashed in on what looks like a home video is always going to have more impact.




Smaller scoped flicks like this are also prone to push the envelope with what type of atrocities are committed, and how. Five Across The Eyes has a rape by screwdriver in it, downplayed to the extent you almost miss it. You've got to respect that.

Now, the less good.

The running time of 95mins feels much longer and considering that the action in the movie amounts to watching these kids drive, cry, scream, get tortured, retaliate, repeat... a huge chunk of this should have been sheared off to make for a tighter, tauter story. This isn't rocket science and I don't know why it happens so bloody often.

By all means have much of the story take place in (and all of it shot from, apparently) the van, but realise that over an hour and a half of this is going to get a bit repetitive? Kill your babies in the edit people, c'mon!


There's also the fact that - and maybe I'm just speaking with my gender representation hard-on here - all of the characters are women, but nothing is ever really done with this. Yes okay, on the one hand that's cool, because why should it be an issue? Can't they just be characters in a narrative, women are people too, etc etc? And yet I still feel the tagline of this film should have been "An Opportunity Wasted".


I don't need something to write a thesis on, but a little more depth and a lot less screaming wouldn't have gone amiss.

There's a glint of something here, which makes it all the more frustrating. Although it may feel like it for the most part, not all characters are screamers. Within the group there is a spectrum of toughness and like the previously reviewed Eden Lake, as the ordeal becomes worse and more prolonged, the likelihood of vengeance wreaking from the good guys increases.



Indeed, a leveling shift in all of the girls at the end of the film means they've experienced enough to be able to fight back, setting upon their enemy like a pack of dogs.


And they really go to town on this bitch. Not stopping at beating her; they also repeatedly stab and... set her alight.



Intense! Yet the above doesn't happen until the final twenty minutes or so - AND another mistake is made of not ending with this bleak, cold sequence. Instead, everyone clambers back into the van, we're treated to more driving and a really lame joke before the credits finally roll.

The film feels like someone trying to pick up a ball but every time they get close to it, their big clumsy feet kick it away again.

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