EYE WITHOUT A FACE (2021) Reviews of webcam serial killer flick

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‘Alt. Shift. Homicide.’
Eye Without a Face is a 2021 American horror-thriller film in which a young man hacks webcams and suspects he has found a serial killer.

Written, produced and directed by Ramin Niami (Somewhere in the City; Babe’s & Rickey’s Inn; Shirin in Love), the Sideshow production stars Dakota Shapiro, Luke Cook (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), Vlada Verevko (Beauty and the Beast) and Rebecca Berg.

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Plot:
Henry (Dakota Shapiro), an agoraphobic and anxious young man living in Los Angeles, hacks into the webcams of various selected young women who inhabit the city. He watches over them in their daily lives, seeing himself as their guardian angel.

When his new actor roommate Eric (Luke Cook), a Youtuber and struggling actor pushes him to get out into the real world, he unknowingly puts Henry in danger. And as Henry starts to suspect one of the women he watches, Laura, of being a killer, everything starts to spiral out of control…

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Our review:
What one might want to know going into Eye Without a Face is that director Ramin Niami is not some young newcomer fresh out of film school, or worse (conceivably), shooting his mate’s skateboard stunts in the park, and now seeks to make a name in the splatter marketplace while antagonizing the eye with CGI f/x. He has been around making films for a number of years and knows a thing or two about character development and screen legacies of classic suspense. He is no Alfred Hitchcock – but if you are willing to settle for, perhaps, William Castle, Eye Without a Face is worth a look.

Premise stitches together two Hitchcock favourites, Rear Window and Psycho. Henry (Dakota Shapiro), who proves to be something of a less-than-reliable narrator, dwells as a young recluse in his Los Angeles home, taking on an outgoing, would-be-actor from Australia, Eric (Luke Cook) as a boarder for much-needed income.

Henry eventually reveals to Luke, that in his room filled with PC gear, Henry has hacked into active online cameras and webcams embedded in devices around the city, especially those belonging to young, attractive women. Henry spends hours eavesdropping on these cuties and their personal lives, including online carnal fantasy sessions (nothing rude is shown). Gradually, though, Henry becomes convinced one of them, Laura (Vlada Verevko) is a serial killer, with a habit of poisoning men – and, possibly, going around in a mask and portable Livestream device for slasher murders.

Luke Cook is not exactly Grace Kelly, but the Aussie fills the slot amusingly, as Henry tries in vain to convince the freeloader of what is happening. Henry also fears lethal Laura realizing she’s being watched and by whom. A flash-forward opening seems to portend this grave development. But, as stated previously, one cannot always trust what one is seeing here. Once the home viewer tumbles into that gimmick, the plot’s mechanics become more or less predictable.

Actor Shapiro has done his homework with the Tony Perkins-patented neuroses, and there are no attempts beyond the basics of screen POVs to suggest a “kewl” cyber-world of virtual relationships and digital danger (compare-contrast with the big-budget Hollywood thing Nerve which was all about that). The mild side commentary on internet-age angst speaks for itself. An okay, if not groundbreaking thriller; perhaps bonus points if watched online. Or not.

Charles Cassady Jr, MOVIES and MANIA

Other reviews:
Eye Without a Face is an interesting character study with a few macabre twists and turns. It features solid production values, an interesting story, and a talented cast. As the climax draws close die-hard fans are sure to get a glimmer as to how this will all end up. Still, the performances keep the viewer vested in seeing the story through to the end.” Fears Mag

“Entertaining and engaging, Eric is a good uneasy pair to Henry as at first, it seems as if neither sees a problem with what they’re doing. However, when things begin to get serious, they’re both necessary reactions to the events that are happening in the film.” Geek Vibes Nation

“With its primary weaknesses being periodic moments in which its pace was blisteringly slow and its background audio overpowered the dialogue that I really wanted to hear, Eye Without a Face is a solid psychological thriller that will be particularly enjoyed by fans of Criminal Minds.” Heaven of Horror

“Luke Cook does give us a performance that will make us dislike his character, which is by design. When it comes to the women Henry watches they all have their own lives, ones they don’t know they are being watched through, showing their strengths and weaknesses […] Eye Without a Face is a creepy horror which will also keep you wondering what is truly going on.” Movies Review 101

” …Eye Without a Face actually heads into some familiar genre territory in its quest to blur the lines of truth and fiction – taking cues from the more over the top, plot-bending, psycho-killer focused giallo movies of Italian cinema! […] despite a conclusion that retreads a cliche we’ve seen in numerous genre films before, Eye Without a Face is still a superb giallo-esque thriller that offers an interesting insight into our connection with the online and offline world.” Nerdly

” …this is a really cool thriller, especially since it manages to make its rather far-fetched premise 100% believable, and manages to make its deeply flawed protagonist totally relatable, despite his at best questionable actions. And while a very clever script sees to it that the tension remains high throughout, a strong small ensemble cast keeps things grounded throughout, making this pretty awesome genre entertainment.” Search My Trash

“This is a horror film that draws on both voyeurism and the slasher genre, but to a larger degree is a character study of a vulnerable person’s psychological breakdown. The emotionally crippled Henry is sympathetically played by Dakota Shapiro in a memorable performance […] A cautionary tale for the modern age.” Starburst

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Eye Without a Face has a unique premise that in spurts is explored effectively well. However, when it concerns itself too much with over-explaining the main character and using vague story tropes to show why he is the way he is, it suffers for it. What we needed was more Rear Window and less Psycho.” To Tony Productions

Release date:

Eye Without A Face will be available On Demand and Digital on August 10, 2021, from Gravitas Ventures.

Background:

Writer-director Ramin Niami: “Nowadays, we are constantly being watched. On the radio, I heard about a female college student who found nude photos of herself on the Internet. The FBI discovered that her webcam was hacked and that a fellow college student had taken these images when she was changing in her college dorm room in revenge because she had rejected him for a date. This story inspired me to create a modern Rear Window.”

Cast and characters:

Dakota Shapiro … Henry
Luke Cook … Eric
Vlada Verevko … Laura
Rebecca Berg … Linnea
Ashley Elyse Rogers … Tessa
Evangeline Neuhart … Sky
Benedikt Sebastian … Rob
Sarah Marie … Ella
Patrick Zeller … Greg
Spencer Trinwith … David
Danielle Hope Abrom … Tiffany
Katharina Baron … Eve
Jullian Champenois … French Man (voice)
Monica Cho … Alexandra
Leticia Contreras … Policewoman
Shekaya Sky McCarthy … Kira
Justine Miranda … Girl on Eric’s Phone
John Ousley … Jean
Rhys Raiskin … Mike
Sharareh Shahbazi … Mina
Nestor Tapia … Policeman 1
Alexandra Sarah Truman … Ann
Garret Williams … Garret

Filming locations:

Los Angeles, California

Technical details:

98 minutes

Notes:

Not to be confused with Eyes Without a Face (aka Les yeux sans visage) the 1960 French film directed by Georges Franju.

Trailer:

MOVIES and MANIA says:

Eye Without a Face benefits from strong performances by Dakota Shapiro (“weirdo” Henry) and Luke Cook (wannabe actor Eric) as the two creepy male leads, plus all the actresses that play all the – conveniently – attractive young women they spy on. The obsessive nature of voyeurism and the claustrophobia of Eric’s pathetic existence is captured well. Unfortunately, the film’s pacing is slightly flawed and scenes of Henry’s father fixation/torment seem unnecessarily crass. Definitely worth watching but this had the potential of being so much better with defter handling.

MOVIES and MANIA rating:

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