Five Across the Eyes (2006) • USA

Every frame of this real time 90 film is shot from inside the van. Yes, it's grainy and hand-held, but it's creatively envisioned and executed. You are the camera, along for the ride. When filming the girls changing a flat tire you can only get the shot via the side-view mirror. Priceless. Most of the humor in the film is achieved by being that omniscient, yet part of the mix, set of eyes. The one-liners are eaves-dropped upon, not thrown in your face.

This isn't gore, though there is a fair amount of blood splashed around. There is nothing supernatural. There is just waiting for the next, possibly horrible thing in store for these girls at the hands of a psycho soccer mom. When something really horrible happens it's downplayed, like pulling a screwdriver from between the legs of one of the girls, or watching from inside the van as another girl gets a shotgun up the butt. Another girl gets her mouth taped shut after loading with fish hooks. But these 'gorable' moments aren't the focus. You really have to see this film to enjoy how subtle and understated it is.

What I found most entertaining in Five Across the Eyes was the emotional back-and-forth between dread-filled screaming teenagers and the dead-pan humor—which is NOT AT ALL like cheap horror comedy humor. This is not a send-up and it's not meant to be satire. The humor is achieved through the comic timing of the director and editor and the choices they make. There is no setup to the punches, you catch them peripherally, and that's what makes them good.

A mom with a big perfectly white teeth smile haunts these girls. Genius. How many more masked hillbillies can a horror fan take?

The sound design of the dialog is a little sub-par . I really want to watch this again with subtitles. It seems that the psycho soccer mom is charging the girls with ruining her family and she scolds them over and over at extremely high volume. It's as if she is taking the role of uber-mom to all these girls. She's rather large physically, not fat, and has a very big mouth (filled with perfect white teeth, as I mentioned before ... and they almost glow, adding to the surreal nature of things). That we can't really discern what her motives are puts us in the same state of mind as the girls.

The girls themselves go back and forth between bitching at one another to last-rites declarations of love and apology as they sense the end may be near.

Forget Blair Witch, and all its pretentiousness. If you've seen the Spanish horror film REC and liked it, give this one a shot. I thought it was going to be a cheap exploitation flick. The fact that the first thing the soccer mom does when she catches the girls is make them take all their clothes off and put them in a pile and then make one of the girls pee on them, well ... I thought, yep, exploitation it is. But then the crazy lady just drives off. And there we are, as befuddled by what just happened as the girls.



  1. Wow, this sounds right up my alley. Haha. I didn't know anything about this (other than the fact that it has a catchy title.) I'm definitely gonna have to track it down now.

  2. "Five Across the Eyes" meaning a slap across the face, nice little ambiguity to Five people traveling across a rural area known as "the Eyes."