An archive review from The Gingold Files.

By Michael Gingold · January 11, 2019, 12:55 AM EST
Eye See You
EYE SEE YOU (2002)

Editor's Note: This was originally published for FANGORIA on January 10, 2003, and we're proud to share it as part of The Gingold Files.

Watching Eye See You as a (largely) direct-to-video title is a bit of a weird experience. Every so often, the movie sits up and reminds you that it was once planned as a high-profile Universal release, one stocked with strong, experienced supporting actors and possessed of a fairly expensive look. Produced in 1999 and originally titled Detox (then variously also known as D-Tox and The Outpost), the film was abandoned by Universal Pictures after much tinkering, was picked up by Blockbuster’s DEJ Productions, played a handful of theaters last fall and got shunted off to videoland through Columbia TriStar. This situation seems to have nipped the promising career of director Jim Gillespie (previously riding high on the success of I Know What You Did Last Summer) in the bud, and hasn’t done any favors to star Sylvester Stallone either.

Eye See You seems an attempt by Stallone to show his range—he gets to be dramatic, romantic, distraught, terrorized and, finally, heroic. But he doesn’t appear up for the job from his very first appearance; attempting to be self-deprecatingly funny as he goes to buy an engagement ring, he pulls a series of goofy faces that suggests the filmmakers left in the stuff before “Action” was called on the shot. In far more time than it takes to write this, his fiancée is murdered by a psycho who has also been targeting local policemen, and Stallone’s Jake Malloy (once a cop, now a Fed) is traumatized to the point where he must be taken to a remote rehab center that specializes in treating law enforcement officers. But wouldn’t you know it, the killer has followed Malloy there and begins bumping off the assorted colorful patients as a snowstorm rages outside.

This is some rehab facility; formerly an Army installation and asylum and built of forbidding concrete and steel, it hardly seems a place where anyone could work their way back to psychological health. To its credit, the movie’s not lacking for atmosphere, Gillespie pulls off occasional interesting shots and the actors (including Tom Berenger, Kris Kristofferson, Polly Walker, Charles Dutton and Robert Patrick) bring a certain professionalism to their underwritten roles and sometimes laughable dialogue. Yet despite the major-league trappings, Eye See You feels like a project on which the money ran out somewhere along the line; the villain’s identity is revealed in a rushed, offhand and random manner, and one gets the impression that they never got around to shooting the scenes that would have given the characters more depth.

There is a collection of deleted/extended scenes included on the DVD (presented in workprint-level video), but none of them contribute anything meaningful to the story or characterizations, nor are they especially missed from the movie itself. Nine cast members contribute onscreen interviews, which amount to quick sound bites in which little of substance is discussed. A couple of them note the difficulties of filming in a cold, wintry climate, a few others wax enthusiastic about the ensemble experience and many of them sing the praises of Stallone and Gillespie—who are conspicuous by their absence, and whose observations would have been appreciated.

The best thing about the DVD is the transfer—the movie’s color palette is limited, but the 2.35:1 image captures veteran cinematographer Dean Semler’s stark atmosphere well in a very clean and crisp picture. It’s complemented by evocative Dolby Digital 5.1 audio that, once again, grants the movie a pro veneer which almost, but not quite, suggests it deserved better than a straight-to-video fate.