Home > Eye of the Beast - 5 > Eye of the Beast – 5

Eye of the Beast – 5

Director – Gary Yates

Cast – James Van Der Beek, Alexandra Castillo, Arne MacPherson, Ryan Rajendra Black, Bryan Edward Roach, Erik Fjeldsted, Stephen Eric McIntyre, Larissa Tobacco, Kyra Harper, Kelly Wolfman

Release Year – 2007

Reviewed by John of the Dead

I normally stay far far away from TV films made for the Syfy channel, and for obvious reasons that need no explanation, but I’ll give you the biggest reason why: they suck. Well, after reading many good reviews and constantly hearing “it’s really not that bad, it deserves a higher rating!” I decided to give this Syfy movie a watch, and while it really was not “that bad” it still fell to the usual hijinks of such movies, and is far from the experience such reviews made it out to be.

That James Van Der Beek guy from those weird-feeling teen shows/movies like “Dawson’s Creek” and Varsity Blues stars as Dan Leland, a scientist employed by NORA sent to a small fishing community to investigate their depleted fish density. Soon after he arrives the community suffers mysterious deaths that lead him to believe a giant freshwater squid is feeding within their large lake, and despite NORA and the townsfolk finding his claims ludicrous they will soon learn how right he is.

The story takes off right away, giving us killer squid action from the get-go, and it was that opening scene that let me know exactly what I was getting into: a cool story with decent direction and HORRIBLE CGI FX. This tends to happen with most of the low-budget Syfy films that plague the TV screen, but I will admit that in the case of Eye of the Beast it is not THAT bad, which I’ve said before and will most likely say again. I enjoyed the storyline as we follow Leland doing his research, research that is not welcomed by the local fishermen who rely on their “catch” for their living. Leland is supposed to help them, but they view him as someone willing to shut down the fishery if he finds something he does not like. Also thrown into the mix is Fisheries Officer Katrina Tomas, a half anglo / half Native American who believes she saw a giant squid consume her father when she was a child. There is a good amount of conflict provided between Leland, Tomas, and the local fishermen (aided by their wives), with lots of deceit and flaring tempers inhibiting Leland from doing his job. I was surprised to see this given must Syfy films just follow the basics and rarely add much more to the story than what is necessary, but writer Mark Mullin seems to have made the most of this simple storyline. What I also loved about the story is the numerous deaths provided by the squid. We see both good and bad people die, with the good people providing an emotional impact on the viewer that I also did not expect to see in such a film. Bravo to you, Mark Mullin.

Director Gary Yates also seemed to have made the most of the deal he was given, giving us good execution of the actors, conflict, and the horror. The acting performances were much better than what is usually provided by these films, and his execution of the conflict was aided by their performances. So how was the horror? Well, everything but the FX was very well done. The actors also helped sell the fear provided by the squid, and Yates’ camerawork and non-squid FX provided good tension. The only huge detriment from the film was the squid itself, which came with laughable FX that pretty much kept this piece from achieving anything other than a mediocre rating at best. There were a few scenes where we saw some live-action FX, but they were mere closeups of the tentacles grabbing someone and lasted mere seconds. It really is too bad that the film suffered from a poor budget, because for once it seems we were given positive actors and good filmmakers for once in a Syfy effort.

Overall, while Eye of the Beast is a better watch than most Syfy crap, it still suffers from insanely poor CGI that despite best efforts from its writer, director, and actors, still made for an experience I cannot recommend outrightly, but maybe one you can check out on a boring night, maybe…

Rating: 5/10

  1. March 1, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Hi John. I too tend to stay away from the ScyFy channel horror movies. But I could not resist watching a bit of the one with Tiffany and Debbie Gibson. Some of the fantasy ones are not so bad, like the Merlin with Sam Neil. Keep up the great work!

    • March 4, 2012 at 9:10 pm

      Thanks, we’ll see what else the Syfy channel gives us this year – hopefully a few recommended flicks.

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