Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Hotdog Bulletproof Vests: White of The Eye (1987)

White of the Eye (1987)
Rating: ***1/2
Starring:  David Keith, Cathy Moriarty, Alan Rosenberg

Somewhat slasher-esque in some perspective, White of the Eye takes the sensibilities of a pre-90s drama thriller with elements from a pure breed slasher film in one bizarre tale of a love, death and high-pitched sounds.

In Arizona, rich women are being killed off in their homes by a gloved psychopath, leaving little clues save the savagery of the attacks. One of the individuals suspected responsible is Paul White (David Keith from the original Firestarter (1984)), a Hi-Fi system installer frequently hired for his unique skill to emit a high-pitch noise that helps him see the best spots in his client's houses to install his audio systems. He was seen with one of the victims prior and, as it turns out, White has a history of violent tendencies, but his wife Joan (Cathy Moriarty from the black comedy Neighbors (1981)) insists to the authorities that Paul had nothing to do with the murder.

Things escalates further when Joan meet with her ex-boyfriend Mike DeSantos (Alan Rosenberg of the TV series Chicago Hope fame) who's happy to see her again but fears for her safety, hinting he knew something about White that Joan doesn't know. All the while, Paul develops a habit of cheating on his wife, an act that Joan quickly found out, forcing her to try and frame the recent murders to her husband as revenge. But when the truth began to twist further and lives are continued to be taken, it soon leads to a vicious fight for survival for those who are truly innocent as well as for those who are sick in the head.

White of the Eye is a stylish study between the coexistence of with ranging psychotic tendencies. With themes like paranoia, madness and perspectives, it's easy to see that the movie is another Western take on the 70s Italian Gialli sub-genre, beginning with a very stylized murder where the brutality of the violence was heavily implied with slo-mo sequences of broken glass, non-blood red liquids being spilled and cuts of imagery symbolizing struggle. (such as a fish out of water, dying)

After this, White of the Eye then slows down to focus more on its characters, though it's a tough say if one can take the casts seriously as they can be laughable to watch, strangle fitting with the tone of the entire movie however. This is actually where the hard parts come in; albeit the fact that the movie has a very sullen and serious tone to it, White of the Eye has it's moments where it shifts mood from serious to downright unsettling and strange, walking in a fractured timeline as we venture back and forth into the past and then back to the present, as if the movie tries to stay true with the idea of character perceptions and tries to put us into the place of the killer, or at least to those who were struggling to understand them.

I like to see this film as a one of those "thinking man's horror", where it raises some questions for you to answer and figure out, but it answers very little, and for those who're looking for a fun, brainless thriller, they might not just get it at all. Then again, the seemingly random quirks and ideas we have around the killer and the plot itself might as well be this film's own way of getting into our skin. The less we understand the movie, the more it is unnaturally creepy for the common people, despite, ironically, the actual story of the movie is really easy to understand in paper, nothing more than about a coping serial killer beginning to lose his mind.

As White of the Eye's primary focuses are tone and creepiness, body-counters will be solely disappointed by this movie's low death count. But patient slasher enthusiasts will definitely find the worthwhile murders and the film's climax to be at least inventive and tributes enough to the hack-and-slash genre. With this being said, I can't be sure if a movie's worth recommending if its direction is as muddled and confusing as this title, but White of The Eye is enough of an attention grabber for those yearning for something entirely different (and challenging), and rare enough for an avid collector not to resist. Dare to try, if you can find it...
1 female had her head bashed through a microwave
1 female drowned in bathtub
1 dog shot with automatic rifle
1 male shot on the face with automatic rifle
1 male decimated with dynamite
total: 5

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