Stars: Dakota Shapiro, Luke Cook, Vlada Verevko Director: Ramin Niami Distributor: Miracle Media
“I’m like their guardian angel.”
Opening with a delightful Dutch Angle, Eye Without a Face presents what is assumed to be the aftermath of severe violence and gore as a female character wields a knife whilst pursuing a “Henry”… Of course, as expected, the wonderful “One week earlier.” appears on screen.
A week earlier, Henry (Dakota Shapiro) – an extremely introverted individual – has a fascinating hobby for the audience to see: he’s hacked into an array of webcams and observes a selection of women on a day-to-day basis. A seriously perverse action and individual, automatically the atmosphere of Eye Without a Face transcends into a cold, creepy and eerie ambiance. However, Henry’s obviously lonesomeness is entirely as expected, as he is the landlord to a YouTuber and struggling actor in the guise of Eric (Luke Cook). Eric’s outgoing personality, bravado, and supposed lothario status, establishes himself as the antithesis of Henry.
Trying his best to hide his disgusting habit from housemate Eric, the actor is dying to know what’s so secretive about Henry’s PC whenever he enters the room. Generically, Eric assumes that Henry is just hiding porn or something more grotesque within that nature. Despite holding off for a good while, Henry eventually gives in once something much darker is at bay: one of the webcam girls is suspected of being a serial killer.
For what is essentially, Rear Window on webcam, Eye Without a Face manages to get a lot right and wrong at the same time. For instance, its presentation of perverse Henry as “normal” or “good” is rather frightening. Tonally, this film almost views like a comedy when Henry and Eric unite in their slight voyeurism. The normalisation of Henry’s activity is regrettable.
The horror notion, on the other hand, of that dreaded wonder as to whether I’m being watched via my webcam or via the camera on my phone – a digital age anxiety – is nailed on quite well at times. Further to that, horror instances of slasher and Giallo are executed magnificently too. Generally as a horror film, Eye Without a Face can be mildly traumatising – which is a good thing because it’s horror? The slasher killings are presented in a realistic manner, adding a sickening authenticity.
The acting tag team of Dakota Shapiro (Henry) and Luke Cook (Eric) is, perhaps, one of the greatest aspects of this film. Of course, they’re both despicable characters, yet their opposing dynamics establish them as a good on-screen duo. Vlada Verevko playing Laura – the most relevant webcam character – adds numerous layers of mystique and curiosity to her character. Playing the character suspected of being a serial killer gives Verevko the licence to mix up and adapt her performance with great quality throughout.
Ultimately, under the creative vision of writer-director Ramin Niami, Eye Without a Face is inconsistent in its quality and the achievement of its targets. For long periods, there are unwanted feelings that nothing really happens. Additionally, the film generally crumbles once we begin to dive into the backstory of the lead, Henry. The perverse and despicable nature of Henry doesn’t warrant a backstory – having him as a sick, bad weirdo is enough to witness.
Eye Without a Face is now available to watch in the UK on digital. Many thanks to Aim Publicity and Miracle Media for the pleasure of this film.
This article’s featured image: By Source, Miracle Media, Fair Use