Eye Without a Face
8 Aug 2021
Dakota Shapiro, Luke Cook, Vlada Verevko, Rebecca Berg
“An agoraphobic young man named Henry (Dakota Shapiro,) living with Youtuber and struggling actor Eric (Luke Cook,) hacks the webcams of young women. He begins to suspect that one of them is a serial killer and cannibal.”
When writing reviews, I want to open with something that will make others feel intrigued enough to read and explore more of the text. However, there is no comparison between a three minute read and a nearly two hours long film – it is imperative to gasp viewers almost immediately in film. Eye Without a Face unfortunately leaves you wondering if there will ever be a moment of true intensity; one weighted enough for you to become part of the horror story that is strenuously unfolding.
Eye Without a Face progresses very slowly, in both the storyline and visually through cinematography. The story doesn’t expand at all and eventually just becomes predictable. Not predictable in a familiar ‘well, at least I can expect any sudden terrors now’ type of way, it feels more disappointing that you can instantly guess where the story is leading and how it will conclude. As well as this, there are elements of backstory introduced that aren’t expanded upon efficiently either. My guess is that such a painful backstory given to Henry was to make viewers feel conflicted within themselves; to feel empathy and sympathy for someone who is, simply put, a criminal. But because of the lack of further explanation it doesn’t have that effect. I felt a bit like Henry as I was watching the film – stuck in a dimly lit room in front of my computer, surrounded by unnerving silence that made me squirm in my seat. Maybe that was the intent, to make viewers feel as if they are part of Henry and his troubles, but if that was the intent then it definitely could have been executed better. I wish I was squirming like a fish out of water because I felt compelled by the horror in front of me but I was simply flapping around in hopes that the silence would collapse in on itself sooner or later.
There are some wonderful shots to pinpoint throughout the film. There are many repeated sequences used throughout too which does add some good context to Henry’s surroundings and the outside environment that he struggles with, but there’s only so much repeating you can let your eyes take in. These up-close, computer screen sequences could have made a huge impact if they were rapidly used within the first quarter of the film. This would have given audiences a wider insight into the characters’ lives before the focus of blood and knives decide to ensue. Dismissing the repetitive aspect though, one of my favourite shots throughout Eye Without a Face is the long running introduction to Henry’s house window. The suspense this scene in particular gives at the start of the film is amazing; I just wish camera work like this was used more often and more appropriately throughout the film to better build on atmosphere.
The acting is alright overall — most of the written dialogue can make it extremely hard at times to either take some characters seriously or to not recoil in discomfort at their choice of words. I do have to commend Dakota Shapiro for his portrayal of Henry; especially in the ending climax. It would be incredible to see him work on another character with deeper, disturbed emotions since his great understanding of this side of acting and how he can use his tone of voice, volume and body language to portray these emotions almost felt wasted here.
Eye without a Face takes an interestingly modern approach to horror through the use of technology while also incorporating the dangers of social media. It may not be as ‘chilling’ as other films in a similar category, Unfriended immediately comes to mind here, but it will make you want to tape up all of your webcams for sure… so if you want a striking addition to any paranoia on this subject, give it a watch.
Eye Without a Face will be on digital 23 August 2021.