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ALL EYES (2022)
Directed by Todd Greenlee.
Written by Alex Greenlee.
Starring Jasper Hammer, Ben Hall, Danielle Evon Ploeger, Nick Ballard, Alex Greenlee, Danielle Roach, Laurie Cummings, Skyler Davenport, Jeff Greenlee, Michael Fox
After a guest kills himself live on the air, a podcaster named Allan (Jasper Hammer) finds himself without a job and possibly facing charges for the incident. Looking for a new direction to go, Allan comes across a letter from a strange man named Don (Ben Hall) who claims there is a monster with a hundred eyes lurking around the forest on his property. But once he meets Don, Allan wonders if the monster is real or just all in Don’s head once he sees Don’s reclusive lifestyle amongst a series of traps and dangerous weapons littered about his property to combat the monster. Is this the story of Allan’s lifetime or just the last story he covers before he dies?
ALL EYES comes from HOME WITH A VIEW OF THE MONSTER, another low fi monster movie focusing more on character and conversation than the monster itself. If you’re looking for giant cryptid action, this isn’t going to be the film for you. Basically, ALL EYES is about a man who is lost getting to know another man who is lost and the both of them trying to find out a way to conquer their fears and move on from past defeats. Allan has a failed podcast and the guilt of playing a part in someone’s death. Don was always an eccentric, but having lost his wife, he feels the only thing to do to honor her is take down a monster. That monster representing all of the regret and loneliness the both of these men feel. It’s a wonderful little slice of life, focusing on two men dealing with loss.
But that doesn’t mean this is all sipping tea and talking about feelings. ALL EYES takes place in a house of horrors of Don’s creation. He has triggered the house with traps, mines, machine guns, and other mechanisms to defend himself from the monster, but he’s done such a good job of it, he’s made Allan and himself prisoners in his own creation. Again, it’s another metaphor for how guarded and shut off Don has become, an extreme path that Allan may take some day if he keeps on this course. But in this case, it doesn’t require a huge CG budget to make real, so much of the film is more about survival against a monster of one’s own making.
Put these two things together and you have a monster story where it doesn’t really matter if the monster is real or not. You do eventually get to see this monster in the woods and while the CG isn’t the best, I feel it’s better than most due to some creative ways of filming. ALL EYES ends up being much more than it starts out to be; a deeply soulful story about real emotions that makes you care about both characters greatly by the end. Jasper Hammer plays the cynical podcast with nowhere to go and offers up a grounded contradiction to Don’s wild antics. But the real showstopper is the always fantastic Ben Hall who has been on quite a roll lately starring in the last three Mickey Reece films (CLIMATE OF THE HUNTER, AGNES, and COUNTRY GOLD). Hall plays the part with crotchety glee, giving life to this broken man searching to overcome his own monster by killing another one.
No this isn’t a gorefest or a monster mayhem movie. It’s doesn’t have a high body count, though blood is spilled. There are moments of wonderful tension and suspense, but what sets ALL EYES apart from most films of this low fi subset is the care and attention put towards character and feelings. That is what makes ALL EYES a wonderfully unique monster movie.