Written by #MatthewParis
Short Film Review by Jack Bottomley
Sometimes the scariest thing in life is knowing you are being watched but an even more horrific prospect is not knowing at all. In this day and age there seems to be an alarming amount of people obsessing over someone or something. You can’t open Twitter or Facebook without seeing such sad, angry or unsettling sights. But what happens when this obsession turns really dark and goes beyond the point of return? Such is the case in directors #ZaneVanCleave and #DevinVanCleave’s short film The Eyes On Me, which sees young woman Jenny (#TaraDavis) arrive home from a evening out, only for her solace to be disturbed by a sick individual willing to go to extreme lengths to get what they want.
Starting off with its protagonist winding down with a glass of wine after her evening, things soon turn sinister with that first knock at the door. For anyone who has ever seen a home invasion thriller or slasher, you know the signs and are immediately hooked in to what is, really, a very basic plot but it is the surrounding matter that is most important. This film shows the very real result of a person’s sexually driven mania and objectification of their target, but is a little light on the themes and explanations of how it develops, as only a few text messages fill in the story gaps and overall, The Eyes On Me is less detailed being played more for a short adrenaline shot of fight or flight survival in the face of this dangerous force. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but it does mean that the narrative does not get the opportunity to delve deeper than surface level thrill, which leaves the finale to arrive a bit suddenly and an explanation that is essentially: this person is a creep.
That being said, this is still a rather tightly wound affair that does build some suspense in its earlier moments, thanks in part to some great original music by #JimMcAllister (including a vinyl player sequence which reminded me a tad of 2008 film The Strangers) and the small feeling this home setting (and #JamesFarns’ cinematography) exudes, which feels at once overpowering and isolated. In fact, it is a shame there was not more build up with this setting and prolonging of this early tenseness, as it would have made the finale all the more powerful and given chance to widen the lead character, while doubling down on the film’s approach.
The acting is good, with the odd line sounding a tad strained but Davis is good as Jenny and sells the heart racing panic, while #BrandonBox offers some strong support as he plays up his character’s animalistic anger and lust. Once the shock kicks in, it is all to the big finish, and very quickly at that, which may leave some feeling a bit annoyed by the concluding openness but which quite literally ends the story with a bang.
A short story of obsession and objectification that could go deeper with its themes but still hits effectively enough and shows the deadly endgame of such fixations and how one young lady bravely combats them.