Fantastic Fest Review: Two Eyes Staring

Posted by Jenni Lee - October 1st 2011 @ 1:22 am

Directed By: Elbert van Strien
Written By: Elbert van Strien, Paulo van Vliet
Run Time: 112 minutes

Any fan of the horror genre will get a kick out of the Dutch film Two Eyes Staring (2010). Set principally in Belgium and secondarily in the Netherlands, Two Eyes Staring is the story of a family with a secretive dark past. Two Eyes Staring is directed and co-written by Elbert van Strien and staring Hadewych Minis, Barry Atsma, and Isabelle Stokkel who are traumatized both literally and figuratively by the embodiment of Christine’s (Minis) childhood in Belgium.

Christine’s mother has died and has left the family home in Belgium in her will, which she finds to be more annoying than anything, as if her mother found a way to goad her even from the grave. Christine’s husband Paul (Atsma) suggests that the family move into the house because it is bigger and in the country; allowing her to pursue her art. Meanwhile Lisa (Stokkel), the daughter of Christine and Paul, rejects the idea of moving, but soon after the move makes friends with Karen (Charlotte Arnoldy), the ghost of Christine’s dead sister.

In general the story revolves around Lisa and how her mother’s childhood is directly affecting the family psyche. Lisa begins acting out based on Karen’s suggestions. I am not going to spoil the acts that Lisa commits in the film, because these deeds lead the audience to the final realization of the previously mentioned secretive dark past. It is best that the viewer approaches the film with as little knowledge as possible.

Overall the film has a sinister and foreboding presence that builds tension until the bitter end. The film works so well that it has been optioned by Charlize Theron’s production company Denver & Delilah for English speaking audiences according to The Hollywood Reporter. Two Eyes Staring is the best ghost story I’ve seen in a long time, so if you enjoy this kind of storytelling this is a must see film.

Grade: A

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