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Mike Barnard

Published May 5th, 2007 | by Mike Barnard

Five Across The Eyes Review

Classification: 18 Director: Greg Swinson and Ryan Thiessen Rating: 1.5/5

Finding fresh approaches to horror movies can often reward filmmakers with a hit, surprising and shocking audiences to the point a frenzy of interest gets everyone hooked on seeing it. Five Across the Eyes valiantly attempts to be unique by adopting a fixed position for the camera — in a car of five teenage girls hopelessly lost heading home from a high school football game one night across a region called ‘The Eyes’. Aiming to heighten the scares when they become pursued and attacked by a crazy assailant, directors Greg Swinson and Ryan Thiessen instead failed to realise that their idea to make it more intense loses all relevance whenever the action happens outside the car and leave us twiddling our thumbs as we watch from afar waiting for the girls to return to their vehicle.

Five Across the Eyes starts out promising enough as the cast of unknown girls bicker about which way they should have gone home in the up-close-and-grainy shooting style which does give rise to a sense of panic and claustrophobia as temper flair. Stuck on country roads with no sign of civilisation they fret and blame each other for their predicament with bitchy realism. Then they see a place to stop and ask directions, but hit a parked vehicle when pulling away. Frightened about getting into more trouble than just being out beyond their curfew, they flee the scene. Sure enough, it isn’t long before the headlights of the owner appear in their rear-view mirror in a bid to teach them a bloody lesson for their hit and run.

If Swinson and Thiessen were aiming to fuse Duel and The Hitcher together with The Blair Witch Project, they miss the point of all three and head off in their own misjudged direction. After the girls have their initial shock of being followed, they come to a standstill and the driver of the other vehicle is revealed brandishing a shotgun. She quickly demands them all out the car and requests they strip so she can see who the sort of people who would drive off from such an incident. Not only does this remove the sense of imposing anonymity which looms over the evil truck driver in Duel, asking the girls to strip is hardly the work of a psychopath which made The Hitcher unrelenting – more of a twisted lesbian in needs of a few thrills. Add to this the camera being stuck in the car while the action unfolds and any tension built up by Five Across the Eyes is dispelled by the very trick intending to sustain it.

Miraculously, the girls escape any serious harm when they road rage victim suddenly scampers off so they get dressed and drive around a bit more. Naturally they are tracked down by the same person a few more times, manage to run out of gas, get knocked about, shot and generally scream a lot, but all momentum is lost before the 30 minute mark is anywhere to be seen. The camera position may have been put to better use if all the action was confined to the car, however the girls leave it far too often so it just becomes a pointless gimmick. With Veronica Garcia putting in the performance of the most laughable on-screen stalker ever, Five Across the Eyes is probably best viewed exactly as instructed: with five fingers across the eyes.


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