Review by Dan Skip Allen
The horror genre is vast in its scope of what fits within its boundaries. Sometimes, there are strange or weird movies that make you scratch your head. Eight Eyes is one of those films. It's an hour and a half of wackiness. I do applaud the effects of the writers and director for trying something that's an amalgamation of things we've seen before, but it just didn't work for me in this instance.
Pinch me if you've heard this before: an American couple, Kass (Emily Sweet) and Gav Bradford Thomas), goes to a foreign country — in this instance, Yugoslavia — to travel around and explore and visit the local sites. Along the way, they crash a wedding just because she wanted to dance. While visiting one of the sites, they meet a strange one-eyed man called Saint Peter (Bruno Velijanovski). Due to a confluence of events, he ends up on the same train as them and convinces them he should be their personal tour guide. This leads them down a path they would soon regret.
This film has a specific style that it's going for. It looks like an old horror film from the ‘70s or ‘80s. It reminded me of a few other films with similar plot points: the Eli Roth film Hostel, Michael Heneke's Funny Games, and Speak No Evil. It’s like a modern-day exploitation film. This genre has been around for a while now, and it's a horror stalwart. This genre just lends itself to strange happenings, murders, and weird people doing questionable things — usually involving blood and guts and horrible behavior for no real reason.
The stranger is actually part of a weird family — a naked man running around with a mask on, a guy playing music on some sort of instrument while on air ventilation, and a punk kid — and he's trying to recruit new members for his wacky family. He kidnaps the couple and makes Sweet’s character watch VHS tapes of his dead mother spouting a bunch of mumbo jumbo. It was very cult-like and almost nonsensical. There were psychedelic lights and strange sequences of a bunch of random things all edited together as hallucinations. Even within the context of the film, it felt strange and off-putting.
Another tip showing that something is going on with these characters is she hears ringing in her ears and sometimes voices. It's the director trying to mislead the audience, as the character does not know what is real or not real. There are many scenes of this sort of thing. These European countries can have some off-the-wall traditions, but this is a little too much for my liking. This movie goes down a crazy path that went off the rails.
Eight Eyes is set in an era that looks like today because of a few things, like cell phones and so forth, but it has a dirty grimy vibe. It’s set in parts of the world that look downright ugly and unclean. This played into the whole vibe of what the director was going for. We as viewers are instantly disgusted by what we watch on screen, for better or worse.
Eight Eyes is screening at the 2023 edition of FrightFest, which runs in the UK from August 24-28.