Apart from being a pun so horrible even I would think twice about using it, Terror Eyes is the title of both the new film from writer/director Delaney Bishop (Robyn Hoodie) and the Dark Web broadcast at the center of the film’s plot. A site that shows everything from crime scene footage to pranks like a cook pissing in the food he’s preparing to crimes filmed just for the chance to go viral.
Lisa (Ayla Kell, Snakehead Swamp), Danny (Riker Lynch, Glee, Purge of Kingdoms), and Rebecca (Lisseth Chavez, Chicago P.D., DC’s Legends of Tomorrow) are about to find out all about Terror Eyes. Their road trip to Palm Springs is turning into a nightmare as the same people keep turning up and harassing them.
It’s no mystery to us what’s happening, we see footage of it with the Terror Eyes logo so there’s no real suspense there. The big question is will the three of them find out before it’s too late? And will Danny find out that Lisa is cheating on him with his brother Shane (Matthew Holcomb) before he proposes? Or will Lisa find out that Rebecca is trying to get Danny back in her bed? Will anyone figure out what either of them sees in Danny?
TERROR EYES is a story about actions having consequences. With networks of toxicity accessible to anyone online, delusion trumps civility. Stories on devices replace civil interaction. And attempting to mimic the actions of internet trolls in real life can result in tragedy.Delaney Bishop director of Terror Eyes
Around the thirty-minute mark, Terror Eyes pulls a major twist on us. And it’s done in a way that can only be described as a cheat. Danny’s other brother, Bryan (Alex Miller) is along on the trip but the film has shot around him. And that leads to a plot reveal that isn’t much of a surprise at all. If you’ve been paying attention you probably guessed it about ten minutes into the film.
The first hour of Terror Eyes is dull even before we find out what’s going on. There’s way too much vacation footage of the three leads singing in the car, at the hotel pool, etc. And when something does happen it feels more half-assed than threatening. It’s only after Danny and Bryan manage to set off a pair of psychopaths that things start to get somewhat interesting.
But then Terror Eyes abruptly switches gears again to go into a series of twists that you can see coming miles away. Not even Jennifer Blanc-Biehn (Fetish Factory, Havenhurst) as the boys’ mother can manage to make them work. Robert Romanus (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, The Resurrected) is wasted in a brief role as their father.
There was the thread of a good story here, but the execution is way too clumsy for any of it to work. There are questionable choices in Terror Eyes’ cinematography like a dinner conversation where the camera repeatedly pans back and forth across the table between the speakers. The script constantly telegraphs plot developments that should be a surprise and it never really tries to make the leads likeable. They’re supposed to be troubled and conflicted but they come off as a bunch of shallow backstabbers. And that’s before the dark secrets are revealed.
And, for some reason, Bishop thought that frequently cutting away from the main plot to footage of Sammy Psilocybin (Aristotle Georgeson) would be a good idea. While he does eventually become important to the plot much of this could have been cut. The character is annoying as hell and the constant interruptions destroy whatever momentum Terror Eyes manages to work up.
Despite Terror Eyes’ plot and several deaths, there are almost no effects in it. The camera cuts away before the violence occurs and about all we get are splashes of CGI blood. There is a fairly good disfigured face effect but it’s barely seen and not until late in the film. And it was way too little way too late to save Terror Eyes from giving me a case of sleepy eyes.