October 15, 2010

Rabid Rewind: My Little Eye

My Little Eye
starring Sean CW Johnson, Kris Lemche, Stephen O' Reilly, Laura Regan, & Jennifer Sky
directed by Marc Evans
screenplay by David Hilton & James Watkins
Studio Canal (2001)

Five twenty-somethings are cast for an online reality show with a million dollars at stake. The challenge: All five must remain in a secluded house for six months; if anyone leaves, they all lose.

If there's something I hate more than reality tv, it's a low-rent horror movie that uses reality tv as a backdrop. Actually, any scary movie that uses the whole faux documentary approach is--more often than not--doomed to fail. But, that's just my opinion.

Sufficed to say that I was not going into this film with an optimistic preconception, but I did find that if I tried really hard to ignore the flagrant and ham-handed use of webcams and scratchy microphones, the story wasn't half bad.

The majority of the film deals with the five nearing the end of their six months in the middle of nowhere. It's winter and things start to go wrong after months of uneventful dullness. The house loses power, supply packages arrive containing strange objects rather than food, and their suspicions that the game organizers' may renig on the cash prize escalate.

Things take some interesting turns. I was even genuinely surprised with a couple of scenes, but the characters were crafted in such a way that I pegged the last one standing within the first ten minutes of the film. The whole dark past of each of the five characters felt a bit by-the-numbers to me, and even aided me in predicting who would survive to the end and who wouldn't.

I will say, however, Bradley Cooper appearing midway through as a wayward hiker was a pleasant addition to the cast--for the brief time he was on screen.

The crazy thing in checking out the credits: The movie was filmed in Nova Scotia, including Clementsport. That's practically spitting distance from where I grew up. How about them apples.

For a movie that leans heavily on the conceit of presenting a film shot entirely with webcams and security cameras, the mood is established nicely and I didn't piss and moan too much about the shaky handheld camera bits (certain objects like pens have hidden cameras too).

The ending is a bit of a letdown when all is revealed, but not so much so that I felt like I'd wasted ninety minutes of my life. After seeing a glut of poor-grade horror movies made on the cheap, I almost have to applaud this one for being average.

Side-note: If you watch the DVD of this film, there's a bonus feature commentary that allows you to hear the game organizers providing their own commentary as the movie unfolds. It's amusing in spots, that's all I'll say.

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