What would happen if the two psychotic kids from Michael Haneke’s Funny Games were thrown into an episode of ‘Desperate Housewives’, unleashing their sadistic entertainment upon the residents of Wisteria Lane?
If this was an episode of Desperate Housewives it would be the greatest television programme in the cosmos. But until the American TV executives come to this conclusion we’ve be given a short film from writer, director and actor Daniel Reninghaus.
Eyes Beyond is a short Canadian horror film which explores a dark side to bipolar disorder that entered over ten film festivals and has received rave reviews.
The film begins with Gabriel, played by Reninghaus, inviting his next door neighbours over for a house warming dinner date. Things then take a turn for the worse when Gabriel and his brother Adam begin a spree of harrowing and disturbing acts to each of the family members. Right away, we are greeted to Gabriel who seems like a warming host, for now.
What worried me was the fact that his next door neighbour was in fact John Prescott, his wife and daughter. All be it a younger version of Mr. Prescott. Maybe now he’s out of a job, he discovered the elixir of youth and has become an actor?
After the introduction of the neighbours and the two brothers, my mouth started to water as the dialogue passed around the table was pleasantly delivered by the cast, the talk about the papers plates was a satisfying touch in creating the believable situation that the two brothers had just moved in.
The banter around the dinner table soon spiralled off as we’re given a brutal main course. The Prescott family have been tied up by the brothers grim after waking up from being drugged. This is the scene that really stands out in the film. It has effectively been put together as the cast really become involved in their characters as we watch Gabriel and Adam viciously conduct cruel acts upon the family.
Reninghaus has clearly been influenced by the frightening dinner table scene in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and I can’t help but think of Reservoir Dogs when the two brothers descend on the Father.
Despite it possibly seeming a little cliché, the atmosphere for this scene genially left me feeling uncomfortable. The cast gave a convincing performance of horror and shock whilst the use of believable gore and sound effects completed the mood.
However, the final act of the film sent my conscious into screensaver mode. Having started off with a good idea and a decent pace, we’re halted towards the end which made me question what the script was trying to deliver. Without giving too much away, what happened with the family next door before they came to dinner was a justifiable way to show how the dark side of bipolar disorder affected Gabriel and his brother.
Nevertheless, its final scenes caused me to scratch my head and wonder what all the previous acts were all about.
Perhaps this idea is a little too adventurous for a short film? In spite of certain floors, Reninghaus has created a sound piece of horror with a subject that has been overlooked in most films.
In the end, it’s the aesthetics of Eyes Beyond that excel rather than its concept but this doesn’t stop it being entertaining and exciting.
For more information on Eyes Beyond, visit the official site: http://www.eyesbeyondmovie.com/