eye without face

Anybody mistaking this for the classic French film Eyes Without a Face (1960) is in for a surprise. Despite the similar title, this is in no way a remake or reimagining of the earlier film. And the clever titling is only the first of several surprises in store. This Eye Without a Face refers to a webcam, the one eye we often overlook, and the one that sees a lot of our daily lives.

Henry is an agoraphobic, anxious loner. The result of a traumatic childhood, at the hands of a brutally dysfunctional father. He spends his days staring at his computer screen, having hacked into the webcams of six women living in the nearby vicinity. Anonymously, he watches their every move.  Until one night, he becomes convinced that one of the girls is a serial murderer with a taste for human flesh.

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. His counterbalance is roommate Eric, a loud, brash outgoing YouTube ‘celebrity’, trying to get his acting break to make some money to pay the rent. Vlada Verevko dominates every scene she appears as Laura with a menacingly icy allure.

The film can easily be described as a Rear Window for the digital age, and justifiably so. Producer, director and writer Ramin Niami has clearly taken a slice of inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock and has built a twisted story upon it that is both a little bit familiar and very original. This is a textbook exercise in tension, paranoia and unease worthy of the Master himself, and is a timely lesson in making sure your webcam is off. A cautionary tale for the modern age.

Eye Without a Face is available on digital platforms from August 23rd.