Trivia Every single shot in the film was taken from inside the white van that serves as the main location of the film.
The phrase "five across the eyes" is slang for "a slap in the face."
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Five Across The Eyes (2006)
5th May 08
Five teenage girls find themselves hopelessly lost after taking a detour on their night-time drive back from a high school football game. They see salvation in the form of a still-open store where they get the directions they were after and a lot more besides.
After accidentally bumping into an unattended SUV, the girls speed off into the night rather than report what they have done and face any consequences. But those consequences are coming their way anyway courtesy of the unhinged female driver of said vehicle who gives chase and over the course of the next hour or so, changes the girls’ lives forever.
Review Five across the Eyes, slang for a slap in the face, starts playing out like your standard teens-lost-in-the-middle-of-nowhere shocker. As the five girls stop and ask for directions at the first public building they see, the genre fan in you starts automatically ticking down that mental check-list of where the plot is going to go next. You say to yourself that chances are that one of the girls will want to use the toilet and yep, one of them does as others go and ask for directions.
Normally we would get to see the girl that needs the toilet finding the worst basin in the world to sit upon with there being more poop out of the toilet than in it. This would be followed by a shot of someone’s feet shuffling visible along the bottom of the cubicle door or that same someone trying the door causing the girl to scream.
In fact the action rarely moves from the vehicle so fortunately said girl comes back from the toilet with nothing spooky to report. Nor are the girls who go asking for directions presented with backward folk akin to Deliverance popping out to spook things up. So right from the start Five Across the Eyes makes for a refreshingly different take on an otherwise well-worn thread that reaches a climax that is both unexpected and satisfying.
Based on a script written by co-director Greg Swinson’s high school friend Marshall Hicks, at the time aptly called Chased, the material was knocked into a shape that would be workable for a movie costing just $4,000. With a cast of non-actors, Swinson and co-director Ryan Thiessen, armed with just a couple of cameras, shot the movie over nine long days in June 2005 in Morristown, Tennessee, the same town that The Evil Dead was shot back in 1981.
Once the nutty woman makes an appearance I found myself delving back into that conditioned thinking that comes with watching so many films of this ilk, and reasoned that each of the girls will now meet with a sticky end till there is just one left. Think again! This isn’t that movie. Five Across the Eyes is something else, something fresh, and something that demands to be seen.
With the camera pretty much right in the faces of the five girls, the viewer takes on a sixth-person perspective feeling like they are sat right there with them in the van, up close and personal. This means that when the violence does occur, the viewer is right there with them, feeling every physical brutality that is dished out to them.
Five Across the Eyes remains fresh throughout with the girls remaining spunky, real and resourceful even if one of them manages to walk rather too well considering where a screwdriver had been placed about her person and I’m not referring to in her clothing.
The acting from the non-professional cast is better than expected with only the odd moment betraying their lack of experience – for example notice how when crying a couple of them sound like they are laughing. With a role limited in scope, Veronica Garcia never fails to make you squirm as the nutty driver pursuing and violating the girls.
Normally teenagers in films don’t look or act like teenagers in films. That is not the case here. The girls look like teenagers and react to the situations they are faced the same, displaying that mixture of still needing to scream and cower but having that burgeoning resourceful adult way of thinking that snaps through every now and again.
What is unexpected is how funny the movie is and by that I mean intentionally funny. Even during the prolonged chase there are character-based moments that bring a smile to the face ensuring that the relentless pace and onslaught of violence has a balance.
Five Across the Eyes makes one Hell of an impression. Sure, there are noticeable goofs such as a girl, whose mouth is messed up by a spot of indecent dentistry, revealing perfect teeth later but this rating is about the impressive set-up, the whole bag.
Directors Swinson and Thiessen are a much needed new voice in horror and it is one that is shouting loud. It’s exciting to watch a movie that plays with your expectations and continually confounds them but still deliver the goods ending in a climax that leaves the viewer completely satisfied.
Extras – There’s some behind the scenes and some deleted scenes to ogle, the latter just crying out for the directors to talk us through them. There is some amusement to be had from seeing cops interrupting the shot as they are not sure what’s going on.
1st Nov 04 Above all though, it is the relationship between John and Laura Baxter which is the film’s central focus throughout, and the gradual disintegration of their relationship amidst a haze of grief.