Brought to us by the same people who created ‘Friday the 13th’, ‘Eyes of a Stranger’ I’m ashamed to admit managed to stay off my radar until I was researching the films in which Tom Savini contributed the gore effect.
Having seen it now I can say I am surprised that more hype does not surround this film.
Although plugged as a slasher I’ve got to say that it does as take as much elements from chiller movies as it does slasher; this is definitely to the films credit rather than a negative.
The plot of the film is very similar to Lustig’s ‘Maniac’, just an average man who enjoys the raping and murdering of pretty young women. That is until an obsessive reporter suspects someone and is determined to put an end to the terror. With such a simple plot, and I’ve got to say, after watching the opening scenes I was already thinking, here we go again. But... and it is a big ‘but’, the ‘borrowing’ of ideas from a range of other movies really helps the film and brings about the feel of realism which makes this film so effective.
The killer is ordinary... just like Maniac, Prowler etc, he makes obscene and repulsive phone calls- as in Black Christmas and When a Stranger Calls. Borrowing such set pieces of these could be considered steeling, but when they are integrated into movies as well as they are this one it’s hard to take umbrage about it.
The pace of the film is relatively slow, with a decent sound track creating a rather grim and often chilling atmosphere. The film itself isn’t particularly scary but you can’t help feeling that it is horribly realistic and it does drag you in some what. Despite the slow pace there isn’t really any point where I got bored.
The violence in the film isn’t particularly strong, especially when you consider that Mr Savini was at the helm on gore, but there are plenty of killings and some of them are relativity bloody. They are quite brutal too, and the rape scenes, whilst not very graphic still are pretty grim. What I do like about the slaughter in this film is that there is no fucking about, no silly cat and mouse shit (aside from the rather cruel torment of a blind girl at the end) and the killer gets the job done swiftly - again realistically.
Despite the fact that I say it’s not gruesome there are a couple of good scenes, the slow motion (reminiscent of Friday the 13th) headshot of the killer is one to remember and a couple of throat slashing are nice and bloody.
Overall ‘Eyes of a Stranger’ is one movie you must see. It’s a really cool mix of slasher and chiller, both tense and reasonably brutal. It successfully melds ideas from many different sources and creates a super film as a result. As usual, it could have been gorier and it’s a shame it didn’t capitalise on this with all the murders. Other than that this is the perfect film to watch with your mates or girlfriend as its got all the elements of a cult film but keeps the pace as good as the mainstream!