Eye Without a Face is a solid psychological thriller that will be particularly enjoyed by fans of Criminal Minds. Read our full review here!
Enter, Eye Without a Face, the psychological thriller that extracts and integrates the better features of these films to produce a Criminal-Minds-adjacent celluloid (sans the FBI).
“These are my friends…”
Eye Without a Face centers on Henry (Dakota Shapiro, making his feature-film debut), who spends his time watching women through their hacked webcams.
Not for the sake of voyeurism, but because he believes they are his friends. He seems to genuinely care about these women: After observing a strained moment with one of his “friend’s” lovers, he remarks, “What a creep, Sky [Evangeline Neuhart]. You deserve so much better.”
Naturally, as Henry is living in Los Angeles, his roommate/tenant, Eric, is an aspiring actor (Luke Cook; Lucifer Morningstar in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina). When Henry tells Eric about his webcam habits, Henry’s carefully constructed “reality” begins to collapse, especially after Henry believes he is witnessing one of his “friends”, Laura (Vlada Verevko), potentially murdering and cannibalizing the men she’s meeting on dating apps.
However, when Laura realizes she’s being watched, speaking directly into her webcam to her unknown spectator, Henry’s Truman-Show-like observational seclusion is exposed, along with both Henry’s past and present psychological demons.
“… I watch over them…”
Despite Shapiro’s resume only including 6 acting credits, including Eye Without a Face, and this being writer/director Ramin Niami’s first writing/directing credit since 2014, Eye Without a Face is a film worth watching, brilliantly led by Shapiro’s Henry and complemented by Cook’s Eric.
Henry is creepy, but the thoughtful ways in which Niami humanizes this character, so that the viewer may actually mourn for Henry’s seemingly involuntary hermitage, required such a delicate balance that could easily topple. And yet, this was achieved, with these two aspects of Henry’s psyche converging in the final scene.
Along with Shapiro’s performance, there are noteworthy yet subtle details to Niami’s screenplay. Of Henry’s “friends”, there is an Instagram model (Sarah Marie) and a cam girl (Ashley Elyse Rogers), coupled with Laura (i.e., dating-app user) and Henry’s roommate, Eric (an actor who proclaims that he needs more social-media subscribers to get a leg-up in Hollywood); in other words, four people who voluntarily share much of their lives to online strangers (like Henry) on public or paywalled websites.
Thus, in the context of Henry’s life, the incorporation of these modern elements into the lives of his “friends” is such an interesting concept, allowing Eye Without a Face to differentiate itself from its cinematic predecessors.
“… I’m like their guardian angel.”
Eye Without a Face debuts on DVD and on-demand on August 10, 2021. With its primary weaknesses being periodic moments in which its pace was blisteringly slow and its background audio overpowered the dialogue that I really wanted to hear, Eye Without a Face is a solid psychological thriller that will be particularly enjoyed by fans of Criminal Minds.
Recommendation: Stream it (and cover your webcams on your laptop and phone).
Eye Without A Face will be available On Demand and Digital on August 10, 2021, from Gravitas Ventures.
Writer & Director: Ramin Niami
Stars: Dakota Shapiro, Luke Cook, Vlada Verevko
Henry, an agoraphobic and anxious young man living in Los Angeles, hacks into the webcams of various selected young women who inhabit the city. He watches over them in their daily lives, seeing himself as their guardian angel. When his new charming roommate Eric, a Youtuber and struggling actor pushes him to get out into the real world, he unknowingly puts Henry in danger. And as Henry starts to suspect one of the women he watches, Laura, of being a killer, everything starts to spiral out of control.