Five Across The Eyes (2006)

DVD Cover (Anchor Bay)
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Overall Rating 26%
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Ranked #5,269
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Sandra Paduch
Sandra Paduch
Danielle Lilley
Danielle Lilley
Mia Yi
Mia Yi
Angela Brunda
Angela Brunda
Jennifer Barnett
Jennifer Barnett
Review by Chad
Added: August 02, 2012
Wow. Just, wow. Five Across the Eyes is a movie that I heard about a couple of years ago after reading a couple of glowing reviews for it, and as is often the case, it took me this long to get around to watching it. I read quotes like "the new face of horror", "best horror release of the year", and other such huge compliments, so when I popped it in earlier, I was expecting one hell of a movie. Unfortunately, what I got was ninety minutes of pure hell.

The story is as basic as it gets. Five high school girls - Isabella (Sandra Paduch), Jamie (Danielle Lilley), Melanie (Mia Yi), Caroline (Angela Brunda), and Stephanie (Jennifer Barnett) - are driving home one night and decide to take a shortcut through the woods, and they wind up getting lost. I bet you didn't see THAT coming. They stop at a gas station for directions, and while playing a prank on one of the girls, they accidentally bump their van into a parked truck and break one of the headlights. They figure that it'd be better to haul ass and never look back than to face the angry owner of the truck, so that is exactly what they do. Then, a couple of minutes later, a truck with only one headlight starts to follow them, and... well, I think you can figure it out from there.

Let's just cut to the chase here: Five Across the Eyes is brutally bad, and honestly, I don't even know where to begin with this review. How about the overall presentation? It is an extremely low budget affair, shot with a camera that you could probably pick up from the bargain bin at your local Wal*Mart, and the sound is a muffled mess. Not that the movie has an extremely deep plot or anything silly like that, but good luck hearing what any of the girls are saying. The video quality is reminiscent of something shot on a cell phone, and the filmmakers used the cinéma vérité-influenced "shakicam" technique in an attempt to immerse the viewer more deeply into the film. It didn't do that, but it did give me a headache.

The acting side of things doesn't fare much better. Veronica Garcia plays the role of the psycho woman doing the chasing, and she isn't bad. She's actually pretty convincing in a couple of scenes, and I can't really bitch about her at all. That is where the positives end, though. The five heroines were all played by untrained actresses, and it shows from the opening moments up until the credits begin to roll. They are extremely unconvincing in every way, and none of them know when to shut the hell up. Look, I expect some screeching and crying out of the victims in a movie like this, but for ninety minutes straight? The sound quality didn't make it easy to hear what was going on, and having five girls screaming at the top of their lungs throughout the entire damned thing made it that much worse.

Oh, and for the few lines that did manage to get through that mess, you still have to deal with the obnoxious heavy metal music, the sound of the van's engine (which is louder than the dialogue), and the chirping crickets (which is louder than the van). On top of that, they deliver some of the most unintentionally hilarious lines I've ever heard ("If she kills you, you'll be dead!"), but this is more a fault of the writers than the ladies playing the roles. Still, I don't see how they agreed to utter those lines.

As for the "action", let's see here... there's a grand total of one kill in the entire movie, and it happens right at the very end. It's pretty good, too - it's nothing to brag about, but it is decent enough. Unfortunately, that is all the movie has going for it in this department. The psycho driver terrorizes these girls by simply driving around, catching them, and tormenting them in various ways before releasing them and hunting them down again. I use the word "terrorize" loosely here, because it's all very poorly executed. Most of this is due to the budget, but still, I don't give pity points.

I reread one of those aforementioned reviews, and they describe a scene in which one of the girls is violated with a screwdriver. I can see that now, in hindsight, but when I was actually watching the movie? I thought the screwdriver was either picked up off of the floor or pulled out of the girl's leg. Somebody had a finger bitten off? I saw the missing finger, but I totally missed the biting part. This sort of thing is par for the course here, what with the mixture of shakicam and zero budget, and it kills the one part of the movie that could have been good. "Psycho bitch jams a screwdriver in victim's vagina" sounds gruesome on paper, but what does it matter if you can't see it or even get an idea of what is happening?

But wait, there's more! How about those stupid decisions made by the characters? Alright, I get that most horror movies are rife with them, so I generally gloss over that in my reviews. Most horror movies wouldn't last ten minutes if the heroes did the smart thing, so I normally just kick back and go with the flow. I just couldn't do that here. Take, for example, the scene in which one girl is hiding from the killer inside a van with no gas. Instead of getting out of the van and getting in the truck that is parked right beside it with the keys in the ignition, what does she do? She gets out of the van, siphons a cup's worth of gas out of the RUNNING truck, puts it in the van, and drives about twenty feet. How about the girl who bumps her head on the back of the car seat, which doesn't even draw enough blood to cause a trickle to run down her forehead... and then spends twenty minutes putting five band-aids all over her face. I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

Five Across the Eyes is just that: it is a slap in the face to any fan of horror. I could overlook the stolen plot and I can always ignore a low budget, but I just can't deal with a bare-bones storyline that somehow manages to fuck up the simplest of ideas, coupled with dialogue that you can't hear and visuals that you can't see, as presented by a horrific cast of ladies who had no business being in front of a camera. I'm giving the movie a 2/10 for the psycho woman's performance and the one kill of the entire movie, but that is by no means any kind of recommendation.
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