Sunday, October 14, 2012

Eyes of a Stranger

I first bought this movie a few years ago for my yearly Halloween horror movie-a-thon, and I was amazed when I saw it that I hadn't heard much about it over the years (I'd barely heard the title before). It's a great little freaky gem that has several moments that are so psychologically disturbing that they nearly made me vomit in terror. One of my biggest fears is the idea that when you get the feeling that you're not alone in your house, and you hear strange noises and you turn around and no one is there, so you relax, that someone was REALLY there all along, hiding in the shadows, and you're not really safe. That idea has inspired many a nightmare, and this movie trades on that thought in spades.

A killer is picking off women in this movie, and the police refuse to speculate whether the murders are connected, but a local TV news reporter named Jane suspects that the murders are in fact related and intends to prove it. she does a series of stories about the murders, and in the midst of this, she begins to suspect her neighbor in the apartment across the street of being the killer. She sees him do lots of suspicious things, and she begins to investigate him, to the chagrin of her lawyer boyfriend who understandably doesn't want her to get sued or fired or murdered or anything. Also, she has a sister named Tracy living with her who is blind and deaf due to an injury she sustained as a child. Doctors can't explain why the girl can't see or hear or speak, so they hope to see her recover some day. Jane means well, but she tends to keep Tracy isolated in her own home like she's helpless, which doesn't necessarily foster a sense of independence (though as we see in the movie, Tracy isn't completely helpless, and she can hold her own better than a lot of onscreen heroines I could name).

The movie is pretty unrelenting. It moves quickly but not too quickly to be believable, and though Jane does some stupid things (dude, you're a reporter on TV, why would you call a guy you suspect is a killer and taunt him on the phone? You don't think he might recognize your voice?) there are no supremely boneheaded moves that are so stupid that they ruin the movie for me, and the last ten or twenty minutes are so nail-bitingly suspenseful that they beat the entire running times of some supposedly "scary" movies that shall remain nameless. This movie definitely deserves more attention than it gets.

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