When I first got See No Evil out from my local library, I was under the misconception that it was the 2006 slasher movie starring the WWE wrestler Kane, terrorizing a bunch of teenagers, possibly by growling a bit and performing fake pile drivers on them.
It wasn’t. Nor was it the rip roaring disabled comedy See No Evil, Hear No Evil with Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder which shows how hilarious being deaf and blind can be.
No it was in fact the 1971 Mia Farrow horror sometimes known as Blind Terror a name which in fact fits the film better and had the DVD been labeled with it would have ruined the intro to my review entirely.
Set in rural England, Mia Farrow plays Sarah, a girl blinded after a horse riding accident, and as a result, returns back to her home to live with her aunt and uncle in their large country manor.
Unbenounced to them all, an innocent encounter with a mysterious murderer prompts him to savagely attack the family. Sarah is left alone and unaware of the murderers actions, and returns home after his bloody rampage to become his next target when he finds her ambling about the house.
Farrow is excellent as the unsuspecting victim and heroine, English accent and all. Much like her other more famous horror role in Rosemary’s Baby, she is tortured and pursued, relentlessly struggling to cope with both her disability and the threats around her that she cannot see.
The film is very slow to start out, but this is done deliberately to build the tension and the anticipation. Cleverly directed by Richard Fleischer from an equally inventive script by Brian Clemens, we are kept literally in the dark about the identity of the killer from the start. The viewer only seeing his trademark cowboy boots and violent behavior before he appears at Sarah’s family home to reap his mad revenge on the unsuspecting inhabitants.
The movie is in fact a filmic exposition into Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Bomb Theory’, which details the difference between suspense and surprise. A shocking event that neither the viewer nor the characters is aware of is surprise, whereas information given to the audience but held back from the characters can create an entirely different, and much more riveting and suspenseful scene.
Here it is what we see and Sarah doesn’t that makes the film truly gripping and disturbing, with some highly original and nasty moments taking place in the house after the murders.
Overall See No Evil is worth checking out if you fancy something more ‘chilling’ and ‘unnerving’ than a straight out gore-fest.
It does look slightly dated and a random plot twist involving a local bunch of gypos is somewhat odd, however its originality and excellent direction raise it above the bar of other 70’s schlock horrors.
Its ‘who dunnit’ structure does lend itself to the thriller genre, but it is still a inventive unsettling horror at heart and therefore deserves to reach a wider audience than it has … Definitely wider than that wrestlers film with the same name anyway.
Additional film information: Blind Terror (1971)