Sunday, October 14, 2007

Eyes of a Stranger

And here we come at last to the final film in the Twisted Terror Collection. I had been warned by reviews before getting it that this was the worst film in the set, and was nothing more than a lame ripoff of Someone’s Watching Me, but I have to say that I’m just not seeing it (Well, the “worst film in the set” part, at least). While the plot does bear some passing similarities to Someone’s Watching Me toward the end, it’s not nearly the ripoff that I had heard it was, and functions well enough on its own merits.

What’s immediately noticeable, if I must directly compare the two, is how this one is rated R and doesn’t mind flaunting it, covering up the weaker directing of Ken Wiederhorn by throwing a good amount of blood, nudity, and profanity at us (my favorite moment of this comes right at the beginning, as a woman hears a noise in the other room, and when she goes to investigate she finds that the sound was nothing more than her boyfriend having been suddenly beheaded and his head dumped in her fish tank). Yes, it’s a weak trick, and yes, it never fails to work. I dunno, maybe it’s just me, but when a movie is rated R it just seems to up the ante a bit as to how high the threat level is, something that just doesn’t work quite as well with a TV movie.

The plot, about a serial killer terrorizing Miami and the over-emotional reporter who’s convinced that he’s a man living in a neighboring apartment building, isn’t really that original, and owes a good deal to a number of movies, not merely Someone’s Watching Me, but it’s still done fairly well, with some nice moments of actual tension involved, even though, like Someone’s Watching Me, it still suffers from the same Omnipotent Villain Syndrome, where the killer is somehow able to go anywhere at any time and knows way too much about his victims than is really plausible. Still, there’s some good tense moments, especially at the end when he’s figured out the reporter knows who he is and starts toying with her blind younger sister (Jennifer Jason Leigh making her film debut, and being a good egg and stripping down for it too), which only comprises the final 15-20 minutes of the film, but which the back of the DVD case acts as if it were the main thrust of the film. It’s got some nice scares, there’s enough blood and nudity to make up for the quirks in the plot, and it keeps a pretty steady pace all the way through. Certainly not a bad way for them to end the collection.

Rating: ** ½

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