Directed by: Oliver Cane
Written by: #OliverCane
Reality TV and shows like Big Brother were meant to be an intriguing and entertaining snapshot of social interaction, an experiment into how the human condition copes under a controlled environment. The result was often anything but. So it is wonderful that #filmmaker Oliver Cane and his indie movie Eyes and Prize takes the concept to disturbing and unsettling lengths with a film that is actually intriguing and entertaining.
Jackson Bews, Alanna Flynn, Gerard Mcdermott, and Nick Blakeley play participants in a brand new reality show called Eyes and Prize. With little information about what they have signed up to, the quartet find themselves in a small apartment loaded with cameras awaiting further instructions about the game and how it works. However, when one of the four starts acting rather peculiarly, the others are confused as to whether this is all part of the show or if they are truly in peril.
Beautifully simple and truly terrifying, Cane delivers a movie experience that is pure cinematic immersion.
The nature of the story allows him to create an atmosphere that is isolated, claustrophobic, and intense for his characters to play out this social experiment. And to their utmost credit, the cast embrace this with phenomenal results.
Bews is sublime as the cynical youth whose curious and hot-headed nature make him a compelling on screen presence, even when he's moaning for protein. Flynn is terrific as the enthusiastic and slightly tender female element. Whilst Mcdermott is excellent as the older guy who thinks he can unravel the show's scheme. And Blakeley is marvelous as the quieter type who gets the first instruction. As an ensemble, what is most striking about all the performances is the naturalistic delivery of the dialogue, with characters speaking over each other and engaging in small talk which was brilliantly convincing.
The cinematic skill on display from the crew is also noteworthy. A captivating roving camera captures the interplay of the contestants within the room, which contrasts expertly with the less intimate static camera footage of the eyes in the sky. The set design was both alluring and pokey, ensuring the authenticity of the piece was kept in place in what I am assuming was a fairly limited budget.
Riffing off high concept #horror movies such as Cabin in the Woods and Saw, Eyes and Prize contains a moralistic edge when it comes to thematic depth.
How much of our safety are we willing to risk in order to claim 15 minutes of fame or, even more worryingly, distract ourselves from the monotony of everyday life? The contestants all lie to their families to attend the show, cut themselves off from the digital world, and essentially put their trust in a website! This is then developed further when the limits of each contestant is tested to see where the breaking point is and how they cope with extreme duress and isolation.
A startling and affecting watch from beginning to end, sublimely acted and boldy constructed. A triumph for indie horror.
Watch the official movie trailer below.