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My Little Eye (2002)
Director: Marc Evans

review by Paul Higson

Five young Americans occupy a timber building in a remote point in snowy Novia Scotia for six months with a curfew that if broken jeopardises for all the contestants of an Internet CCTV show the $1million prize. With the deadline close, bricks replace the food packages, and a letter arrives informing one contestant that the funeral of a loved one is imminent - but if he leaves the money is forfeit. Are the programme producers determined to hang on to the cash prize? Will the removal of a dead housemate contravene the rules and the survivors be forced to continue with a corpse? Can you realise how far from the content of the film I am moving away because in it's busy running time it is able to throw up so many questions and offer as many directions?
   The deliberately mediocre cast of undeveloped American youth should appeal to the youth audiences on either side of the Atlantic and at least the horror package is more acute and scathing. Camera angles from fixed positions, skew, selectively slow zoom, section, search and await the brash and rash collective and a miraculous urgency and emergency is achieved without the overall conceit becoming too blatant. The sound technicians crank it up high, perfecting the aural screech and violent spinal scraping; other films may claim to be the most consistently noisy and decibel toting of experiences but My Little Eye is the possessor of the most piercing. The split-second shock sound effects are accompanied by a seething music soundtrack put together by Flood, best known for his work with Nine Inch Nails, and there is nothing seedier than Jennifer Sky (star of Cleopatra 2525) getting down and dirty to the sound of Peaches' 'Fuck the Pain Away'.
   The major plot twist and the identity of a killer may be surmised early but there is time and sidetracking aplenty to reconsider and when the original predictions home true it matters not a fig that the big surprises do not fulfil, the little turnabouts are plentiful enough to keep the film juggernauting to its grim conclusion. Cameras turn up in the oddest of places in throwaway and effective distractions, on the end of a torch and set into a joystick. Where many directors would string sequences out with an incomplete murder attempt and subsequent chase, Evans does not feel the need to and allows the vulnerability of the scene to play out logically. Until the grand finale, that is, but as is the case throughout there is something else to hold the viewers concern. The death of the first housemate brought gasps from the audience based on the moral conjecture and not any graphic or horrific representation of the death; the viewer is only let in on the bloodless death after the fact. Any vagueness on my part is deliberate to allow others to thrill and detect for themselves, though without any real fear of giving too much away when one housemate hacks onto the Internet I wonder why he the search engines are unable to deliver him to the FBI website.
My Little Eye
©2002 Momentum Pictures
There are holes but given the complexity of the shooting one would be petty to make heavy-duty complaints. Marc Evans has enhanced his reputation exceedingly with My Little Eye, an intelligent and technically superior film over the budget restricted drabness of House Of America (1997) and the impossible to like Resurrection Man (1999). Evans and, producer, Jon Finn drop the unexciting trio of The Blair Witch Project, Scream and Rosemary's Baby as reference points though the tone is closer to the unpredictable naked horror of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, particularly in the nerve jangling sound design and schismatic camerawork that opens the film. Other likening can be made to The Evil Dead, The St Francisville Experiment, and Ibiza - �99 Return from British TV's second series of Shockers (2001).
   My Little Eye is for cinemagoers that prefer their horror in the raw and with more torques than a St Vitus' dancer.
My Little Eye
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