Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Eyes Beyond and Coded Messages: A Movie Review

Director/writer: Daniel Reininghaus.

Eyes Beyond is a Canadian horror short from director Daniel Reininghaus, which tackles the very large topic of mental illness, in a strange way. Viewers get to see a bi-polar episode on screen, as character Gabriel Morales (Reininghaus) forgets to take his medication. The film also stars Robert Nolan (Worm), Danielle Barker (Night Nurse) and Evan Eisenstadt. Eyes Beyond is a disturbing film to watch, but one that can also be confusing. As well, the film's message seems tacked on and could have been introduced earlier to clarify the film's premise.

In short, the Rogers family comes over to their neighbour's home, with a house warming gift. Soon, the Rogers find themselves tied up, after drinking a drug-laced drink. Now the Rogers undergo torture and humiliation, which is comparable to a Russian pogrom from the '30s. There is rape, there are amputations and there are knifings. However, this is all part of bi-polar, or schizophrenic episode and one character takes pain and suffering to a heavenly level.

This is one of the few films that has managed to disturb this viewer. The rape scene, torture and male homo-erotic scenes are difficult to enjoy and others will likely feel the same way. As well, the film seems to take place in reverse order, which works if well done e.g. Memento. Yet, this structure confuses the plot and left this movie watcher dumbfounded, until producer Elizabeth Rizzuto added in a few clues. This is not a luxury others will have.

The final message about suicide, in relation to mental illness, gives the film a social message, but this message really needed to come up earlier. Without becoming a public service announcement, the initial titles could have introduced a statistic or too. Instead, the film waits until the end to share such info'. Finally, relating suicide to mental illness even in an entertaining format is not a good service to those who are mentally ill and vulnerable. Suicide or suicidal ideation is a mental illness in and of itself and can be triggered by instances of suicide in media e.g. Kurt Cobain. So, while the film and director Reininghaus are attempting to create a film with a message there are better, more sensitive ways to go about this goal.

Eyes Beyond will have an appearance at the Fright Night Film Festival in Louisville, Kentucky beginning July 30th. For those who wish to push their comfort zone this film will please you, but the film might also confuse you as well. One final thought, while the film has flaws this is a good first outing for director Daniel Reininghaus and this reviewer knows that Reininghaus will be around, with more films, in the immediate future. More details on the film below.

Overall: 6.5 out of 10 (-1 for no intro' on the message, -1 for not explaining the film in the middle, -1 for overly disturbing images - leave some to the imagination -.5 for the subject matter and relating mental illness to suicide).

The film's homepage where the film is being sold:

The Official Website

Eyes Beyond on Facebook:

Eyes Beyond on FB

The film schedule for the Fright Night Film Fest:

Fright Night Film Fest'

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