Horrortoberfest Day 17 – My Little Eye (2002)

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Today we take a different look at the Captive Horror movie with a focus on the individual and how we keep ourselves hostage to a bad situation. My Little Eye follows five strangers that agree to stay in a remote house covered with cameras they don’t know the location of for six months, Big Brother style, for one million dollars as part of a web series but if any of them leave then nobody gets anything. Even as things start to become worse and more frightening for the people inside, they keep themselves captive through a mix of personal greed and group pressure.

The movie is done mostly with high end web cameras. This adds a bit of graininess that adds to the “reality” element but also makes it feel very much like an 80’s VHS tape. Which may very well be what they were going for as many of the directorial choices feel very 80’s horror. Amusingly they have The Breakfast Club playing in the background which is an 80’s movie about 3 guys and 2 girls being held captive that has a scene where they ask “What would you do for a million dollars?” There are a lot of little nods to things like that in the movie,

Whereas yesterday’s movie, Hunger, looked at the personal voyeurism of an individual watching the suffering of others; My Little Eye is about the societal voyeurism we have for things like reality television. We, as a society, don’t want reality TV because of the quality of the programming. We watch it like a person that watches NASCAR in order to see a crash. We want to see the pain and drama of people going through real things rather than characters. This desire could also tie in to the popularization of the “found footage” style of movie. We get a thrill in believing that horrible things might have actually happened. As one of the characters says in the movie, “What kind of sick fuck would subscribe to this?”

I did have some issues with the movie on certain things. While it does have a decent amount of tension, it relies a little heavily on the “jump scares” to make an otherwise innocuous situation scary. The worst offender for this is the sound and music for the film. For most of the film it is standard “found footage” style where everything you hear is what is going on in the movie. It then randomly will use the standard screechy violin sting for jump scares and for a couple of the scenes actually has a soundtrack start up.  This is really jarring when you go from most of the movie being natural sound to some high octane rock song when someone is being attacked. It takes you out of the scene and, for a movie that is supposed to be all about the reality show aspect, makes it seem very fake.

The script was itself cohesive. You have several different explanations for what is going on in the house with the actual reality only being shown at the end. The paranoia and doubt was well done but probably could have actually been heightened a bit more. There were a couple characters that ended up not getting as much screen time and development as I would have liked. Especially the character of Danny that you only know is a “nice guy” and “there to make friends” because the other characters say so instead that being something shown in the film. I also want to knock the film for having their “criminal” character randomly turn out to be some kind of super hacker and electronics whiz.

In all, the movie was particularly amazing but it has some merit to it. Odd side note, it has Bradley Cooper randomly show up in one of his first movie roles before he got famous. I had to look it up because him not knowing who any of the people in the house are when they were supposed to be famous internet reality show stars struck me as an amusing play on ephemeral nature of celebrity.  But no, not intentional, he was just some guy that went on to later be famous. Anyway, I’d give this movie a 3 out of 5.

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