Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Project Terrible: Five Across the Eyes (2006)

Project Terrible is back for Round 4, people, and this time I don't think I'm going to find any hidden gems that actually aren't that terrible if anything can be learned from the first movie on my list - Five Across the Eyes, a horrible indie shocker picked out for me by the man behind Mondo Bizarro.

Mondo, I know you said you weren't going to play nice with me this time around, but REALLY. Did I truly deserve this, just for making you watch Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives? I mean, that one had to at least have been laughably bad in a sort of good way, right? Five Across the Eyes was probably the most painful experience of my life, even worse than that one time when I was little and a horse stepped on my foot. I thought THAT was pain but trust me, nothing can compare to the evil torture that is Five Across the Eyes.

In this putrefying mess of a movie, five girls driving back from a football game make the mistake of taking the back roads and get lost. When they stop at a store to ask directions, they accidentally hit another person's car and drive off. When the person hunts them down on the road, the girls find out that the owner is a psychopathic woman who spends the next 90 minutes chasing down and torturing the girls one by one.

I will admit that this movie gets one thing right, and that is the advertising. The poster is actually a nice picture and, after seeing the movie, is a good way to fool us into thinking we are going to see a nice little indie horror movie. When I first heard the title Five Across the Eyes, which is a slang term meaning "to slap someone across the face," I was intrigued. It's a different kind of title that rolls off the tongue well, but at the same time it is delightfully ambiguous because it doesn't really tell you what's in store for you. And indeed the movie itself is like a slap in the face - some people say it slaps you in the face with its brutality, I say it slaps you in the face with its ineptitude.

The movie is shot in real time with something that looks like a Sony Handycam camcorder that you can buy at Wal-Mart for 200 bucks. Maybe they were going for that raw, gritty feeling that is better executed in movies like Texas Chain Saw Massacre, but they completely fail. The $4,000 shoestring budget (no, really... the budget for this movie was $4,000) could not even afford the minimal crew a decent light set. One long scene of the woman humiliating the girls by making them undress is shot completely from one angle, obviously because it was dark and they had to use the headlights of the car as their lighting design. Pitiful. The picture is dark and grainy and shot composition is mediocre and below amateurish. There's lots of bad low angles and sloppy zooms that leads to out of focus shots.

Did I mention that it took two directors to make this movie? And neither one of them thought that they should maybe invest in a freaking tripod at the least?! Besides the advertising, I will give the filmmakers another positive point for making the villain a female. Definitely something we don't see every day. However, the woman's violation of the girls is so extremely sexually brutal that it might as well have been committed by a man. She rapes one girl with the handle of a screwdriver and sodomizes another with a freaking shotgun - not to mention the biting off of fingers, pulling out of teeth, or electrocution with car battery cables.

The acting from all these no-names was the one thing that surprisingly didn't bother me. What DID bother me was the incessant talking - or to be more accurate, SCREECHING - over one another for a good 30 minutes straight. "We should turn back!" "No, we can't turn back, she'll find us!" "Seriously, guys, we need to get out of here right now!" "Just drive, Belle, step on it!" All this at the same fucking time. A cacophony of screaming teenage girls is not the best soundtrack for a movie, believe me. Not to mention that the ambient sound of cicadas is downright deafening at points. The best actress was probably the psycho woman, who is delightfully cuckoo and actually really beautiful when you look past the blood and bugged-out eyes.

Maybe I can kinda-sorta-not-really see where people are coming from when they praise this movie, but for my tastes and my respect for the art of filmmaking, the sub-par technical skill presented here makes Five Across the Eyes one of the worst movies I've seen.

If you don't believe me, let me tell you about another scene: the girls are in a car chase with the woman early in the movie and they try to stop her by throwing various objects at her car. When that doesn't work, one girl - and I'm being dead serious here - takes a dump and throws it at the woman's windshield. I have no words for that.


  1. To be honest, this was my only real choice to give you. I didn't expect you to be as bothered by 'Vampire Boys' as Thomas would be.

    On the bright side, there are two films that remain unavailable for Streaming right now. If those ever come free, someone is getting them. Bob knows one of them for sure.

    As for this movie, look on the bright side- I've given you a memory that you'll never forget. :-) Besides, can I ever top this?

  2. Aside from the incredible ineptitude of the girl victims, I actually didn't think this movie was THAT bad, in comparison to a lot of the other no-budget shit that's floatin' around out there. No prize-winner, mind you, but not the worst thing ever. I dunno.

  3. it's been long since I saw it but I remember really liking it. It's far from perfect (lame acting, pathetic dialogue) but there were lots of scenes I found extremely suspenseful, extremely atmospheric.
    However, the scene where the one girl threw shit out of the car... um yeah, this was just stupid.

    I stumbled upon this movie after reading an uber-glowing review on, a wonderful horror site that doesn't exist anymore.
    Damn, they gave it a 5-out-of-5 and on their Best-of-2007-list it was even on #1!!

  4. Ha, I really loathed this movie. I think I watched most of it on fast-forward so I wouldn't have to hear any more of the bad acting.

  5. @Tim: I was a little jealous that I didn't get Vampire Boys, actually! It looked absolutely hilarious. Maybe I'll watch it on my own. As for this movie, yes, it's definitely something I will never forget. Good choice, in the Project Terrible sense!

    @J Astro: I respect other people's opinion of it, and I've seen a lot of praise for this movie, but there are certain things here that I cannot overlook. To me, it's a disgrace, I'm sorry.

    @Maynard: Oh wow, this movie would NEVER in a million years make a "best of" list for me. That really shocks me!

    @Joel: Trust me, you didn't miss anything worthwhile by fast forwarding! The shit-throwing was perhaps the most "interesting" part in the sense of shock value I would say.

  6. If it makes you feel better, you're not the only one to suffer through this movie:

    It's why I picked it for you. I knew that it was Terrible.

    I'm sure that I'll get my just desserts next Round. Who knows, maybe it will be a film about a killer dessert?

  7. Wow, this movie has such a bad rep, but I truly love it. I think it's pretty damn great. Claustrophobic, emotional and oppressive. I totally dug the shit out of it.