Monday, August 16, 2010

Survival Is A Killer

I thought I'd follow up THE EXPENDABLES with another Sylvester Stallone thriller, the ill-fated EYE SEE YOU, which ended up basically going direct to video in 2002.

Jim Gillespie, whose I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER had been a huge hit, directed this adult-oriented serial killer flick in British Columbia during the winter and spring of 1999. It was called THE OUTPOST and then D-TOX. Universal then shelved it and eventually sold it to DEJ, which began playing it in early 2002 in almost every country except the United States.

Having become something of a legend, due to its strong cast and intriguing premise, D-TOX finally received a token domestic release in September 2002, when it was dumped unceremoniously into about fifty theaters in Michigan and Texas under the (awful) title EYE SEE YOU.

With a distribution history that troubled, a logical question would be, does EYE SEE YOU suck? The answer is no, definitely not. It isn't great, but it is a solid thriller with an outstanding cast, some gore, a neat premise, and solid work by Stallone as an emotionally wounded FBI agent named Jake Malloy.

Malloy’s prey is a serial killer who has slaughtered nine police officers in less than six months. After Jake’s fiancĂ©e Mary (STARSHIP TROOPERS' Dina Meyer) becomes the killer’s latest victim, because he bears a grudge against Jake for pursuing him, Malloy becomes an alcoholic and attempts suicide.

His friend Hendricks (ROC's Charles S. Dutton) convinces him to check into a very remote detox facility for law enforcement officers only, which is run by an ex-cop called Doc (Kris Kristofferson) and located deep in the snowbound Wyoming mountains. Also in residence there: the killer, who has taken the place of one of the patients and begins slaughtering Malloy’s new colleagues during a blizzard. The passel of victims includes Robert Patrick, Robert Prosky, Jeffrey Wright, and Tom Berenger.

Stallone’s status as a proven earner had taken a plunge with his previous few films, but EYE SEE YOU is certainly solid enough that it may have found an audience. It’s hard to believe Stallone’s name was such box-office poison that Universal didn’t want anything to do with EYE SEE YOU. It has its problems, but it's a nifty little movie that has trouble deciding whether it wants to be a horror movie or detective thriller.

Gillespie films a decent chase in the first act and creatively imagines the various creepy killings, though some extra gore might have helped add some zing. Stallone leads the ensemble of accomplished character actors, anchored by Patrick (TERMINATOR 2) as the obvious red herring. It’s always good to see Berenger (PLATOON), though he’s somewhat miscast as the outpost’s dopey handyman.

Gillespie has directed just one feature since EYE SEE YOU’s 1999 shoot, the little-seen horror picture VENOM. Stallone, on the other hand, made an amazing comeback by directing and starring in ROCKY BALBOA, RAMBO, and THE EXPENDABLES, which is currently America's most popular film.

1 comment:

J. E. Badelaire said...

Interesting. I saw this is available for Netflix instant viewing the other day - I might have to give it a shot now that I know what the deal is. Thanks for the heads up!