Eye of the Storm
Vanguard // R // $29.99 // May 21, 2002
Review by Earl Cressey | posted July 3, 2002
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When Eye of the Storm came my way on DVD, hesitation to watch it set in immediately. Movies that undergo title changes are rarely notable and the horror that was The Last Warrior was still fresh in my mind. While Eye of the Storm, aka The Farmhouse, is not terrible, it doesn't fully escape the stigma attached to re-titled films.

After a mentally disturbed Mrs. Miller (Blythe Danner) mistakenly shoots her daughter Sally, her husband Dallas (Leo Burmester) and son Billy (Kurt Deutsch) try to cover it up, in the hopes that she'll forget what she did. However, when a sudden storm traps a traveling college student (Katherine Kendall) at their farmhouse, their dark secrets are brought to light.

Eye of the Storm starts fine as an ambiguous and well-crafted suspense film, though, due to some slow pacing and unclear plot twists, falls apart near the end. The audience is required to pay close attention and make a few inferences to completely understand what's going on, though listening to the commentary will clear everything up for the confused. The film also employed a few weird camera angles. For instance, in one scene, the audience observes the action from a few inches behind a characters head. In another, the camera slowly ebbs and flows to each character, though goes past them to focus on the furniture. As for the acting, Danner does a remarkable job as a delusion woman tormented by her past and really sells the character. The others are less believable, though they perform adequately enough. With some tighter editing and a less ambiguous conclusion, the movie would've been much better, but as is, it isn't totally without merit.

Video:
Eye of the Storm is presented in approximately 1.66:1 non-anamorphic widescreen. The transfer is almost hazy in appearance throughout the film, with the darker scenes on the murky side. Marks, specks, small scratches, and the cigarette burns are all present. Colors range from dingy to mostly bright, with flesh tones appearing fairly accurate. Blacks are decent, though never approach solid or rich.

Audio:
Eye of the Storm is presented in Dolby 2.0 Stereo in English. The stereo track is rather unimpressive, except for some slight imaging. The audio for the tornado could have been incredible, but comes off as lackluster. There were a few audio pops as well. Dialogue is clean and understandable throughout. No optional subtitles are included.

Extras:
The main extra on the disc is a screen-specific audio commentary with director Marcus Spiegel. Spiegel offers an enlighting track for anyone confused about the movie, clarifying his intentions for the film and explaining the symbols, themes, and metaphors he chose to employ. However, the commentary is a bit dry and Spiegel slows down towards the end.

The only other extra is the film's trailer.

Summary:
With some more work, Eye of the Storm could have been a finely crafted suspense film, but as is, it falls short of that lofty goal. The high MSRP and average audiovisual presentation do little to encourage a purchase, but the film is worth a rental for the curious or fans of Blythe Danner. Rent it.



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