Reviews for Two Eyes Staring ( ) 720p

IMDB: 5.6 / 10

All the water drained from the plot in the end

Don't be fooled into thinking that this is a Dutch remake of 'Dark Water', the Japanese ghost movie that was already remade by Hollywood with the same title. A mysterious house and some dirty water is all that these films have in common. And yes, there is the 'ghost angle', but as ghost stories go, this movie has much more in common with The Sixth Sense. But due to how disappointingly that ghost element plays out in the end here, that's where the similarities end.

The beginning of the movie seems promising, yet somewhat predictable: a family moves to a huge house which was inherited from the wife's estranged mother. The young daughter quickly starts to feel that something is wrong in the house, apart from the dark water coming from the faucets. The wife is too career-minded to hear her stories, only the good-natured husband seems to listen, but he believes all the freaky stuff is just stress from the moving and the new surroundings. Without spoiling too much, the girl's ordeal leads to a lot of confusion as to the history and disposition of a strange presence in the house. A solid plot device that was one of the reasons that The Sixth Sense worked so well, and here, it goes a long way, but unfortunately not all the way until the end.

The supernatural element is played out quite well throughtout most of the film, until 20 minutes before the end, where they introduce a couple of plot twists that tear out the bottom of a carefully constructed narrative. A plot twist provides an unexpected direction to a central premise, and if done well, it changes a premise you may not even have been consciously aware off. But in this movie, they present an ill-conceived alternative explanation that comes out of nowhere, a surprise for the sake of having a surprise. If the ending raises more questions than it answers (and I don't mean the good, philosophical questions, but simply logical questions), it is clear that the screenwriter has failed to do a good job.

The film looks great and has some very good art direction and photography, but it is pretty clear from the beginning that the horror aspect of the movie is a lazy rehash from other and much better movies. In the Netherlands, we have the tendency to copy cinema trends with a delay of several years, so such a deja-vu expeirence is not uncommon. We have literally seen such scenes dozens of times before, and when you can actually anticipate jump scares, you know that the director has failed on that aspect.

So the film quickly starts to get more predictable and becomes even boring, which isn't helped by the fact that I find Hadewych Minis a limited actress who seems to have only one facial expression in her repertoire (she is mainly knwon for doing radio commercials these days). Isabelle Stokkel is doing fine as the daughter, and I also liked Barry Atsma's performance. For some reason, many people dislike his portrayals because he is way too pretty for the everyman roles he usually plays, but I will not hold that against him.

The Netherlands don't have a rich history of good horror movies, and this film isn't going to change that, not as long as we keep trying to copy trends from other countries without adding our own spin to it. I have expressed my adoration for the underrated The Pool (2014) before, one of the few Dutch horror movies that did that and worked (for me at least), and I'll do it again here. Or maybe we should resort to remaking thrillers? Loft was pretty well received, and even original ones like The Resistance Banker. I have to admit that even I am getting tired of all the Dutch romcoms now. So please, get a decent screenwriter and a decent director (preferably the same person) and let somebody fund a genuinely good Dutch genre movie.

Simply boring.

Even if the movie was OK as in an good production, good camera work, OK actors, the story heads to a point that you will not believe. I mean whoever wrote the script either gave up or simply had a deadline that clearly he could never hit properly so the last pages were written just for a "full" script.

This is my main complaint about the movie and whoever saw it, will understand, I mean what where they thinking?!? How could they move on with such a plot, a story used by so many before only this one ending like a train wreck. Anyway, there are far more better European horrors out there, go take a look, especially in the North. You'll find something worth your while.

Cheers!

Some movies go from 0 to 100, this one does it the other way around

Well...

I still don't know what to say. The movie start out pretty cool with a few very good shock effects, "creepy little kid galore", and then... Well... It doesn't built tension, it releases it. In my opinion, the movie gets lamer with every minute...

What you get, though, is descent camera work and music. The actors look like they know what they do, although I really can't recommend the German dub, this plain sucks. Yes, I watches it German, and the voices sound stupid most of the time. And with stupid, I mean REALLY stupid. Tried a bit of the movie in it's original language, and it sounded better, although I didn't understand very much, the voices seemed much more believable.

If you ask me, the movies biggest flaw is that it starts REALLY creepy and after maybe half of the movie, it tries to develop into some sort of drama. And for the whole second half of the movie, it doesn't what what it wants to be: horror movie or drama.

And yes, with this being a "new age" horror movie, you will (of course) get a major plot twist towards the end. Which doesn't save the movie from being boring, except for the first 15 or 20 minutes or so.

Don't buy it! Go rent it out instead. If you wanna see creepy little kids, then you're right, but turn the player off after 60 minutes. Or go for "The Orphanage".

European Cinematography Jewel!

I didn't have any expectations towards this movie, and probably it made it so good for me. Plus great setting in which I saw it, on a small film festival, outside during the cold night.

Great acting, amazing atmosphere, fair story, good camera, intensive, great scare factor! The story is a bit usual and stereotype, but it doesn't affect how good this movie is. Karen is very scary, reminded me on Reagan from the Exorcist!

In short it is the story of a family with problems, which moves to a new house in which they start to experience weird and paranormal things.

I would highly recommend it!

A girl and her family move into her grandma's mansion after she passed away, but something isn't quite right.

Though the trailer of 'Two eyes staring' made the movie seem scary and interesting to me, I was gravely disappointed after watching it. The storyline had a lot of potential, but unfortunately it was underdeveloped and unexplained. Thinking of movies like 'The others' with the same principles, make this movie look like a movie for kids. There wasn't a single scene in the movie that scared me. Actress Hadewych Minis might be the only thing about the movie that deserves a lot of praise. Her acting made the movie worthwhile. It wasn't horrible, but it just wasn't living up to my expectations. If you want to watch an simple movie for a relaxing night and you're done with the romantic comedies, this one might please you.Six out of ten for effort.

A step in the right direction for Dutch horror movies,but still not quite there!

For a country that hasn't made a lot of horror movies this movie sure is a huge improvement. But it still needs a lot of work. The slow buildup was pretty good and provided just enough tension to make it interesting. However there were not enough scary moments to qualify as a real horror. As a drama this also fails since most of the characters don't act as they would in real life. It was very hard for me to have sympathy for the mother. Since it was obvious she wasn't exactly right in the head from the start. If this fact wasn't entirely clear than some events would have worked better. A lot of events in the movie also relied too much on coincidence and convenience. The cousin is pretty vague throughout the movie until the end. Christine and her odd behavior towards her husband and her daughter should have at least made the husband curious to find out what is going on. But he makes no attempt whatsoever. Another example is the fact that both parents suddenly have to work when previously only one did. Logically it doesn't even make sense since they didn't have to pay rent and had more to spare. Plot wise it is understandable since they had to create the opportunity for the daughter Lisa to experience the things she does. Of course these are all tactics to build up the tension even more but to me it had quite the opposite effect. These superficial tactics would have worked better if the movie had other things to offer. Like really scary scenes or imagery that would suggest or give another perspective on the events. The lack of actual plot or character development made it a predictable affair to the experienced horror fan. And that really is a bloody shame since this movie had the potential to become a classic.

You've seen it all before, but not like this

Two Eyes Staring is billed as 'the scariest Dutch horror film since The Vanishing.' This, it transpires in the introductory session with director Elbert van Strien, is not that hard, as it's very nearly the only Dutch horror film made since.

Nine-year-old Lisa (Isabelle Stokkel) is a solemn, thoughtful little girl with a big imagination; a quiet, watchful little body who sees and hears more than she should. Not the kind of child best suited to living in a vast, creepy mansion in the middle of nowhere, plagued by spook, unexplained creaks and groans. But when her estranged grandmother dies, leaving her mother just such a property, guess what happens? But are the eerie and disturbing events that unfold the consequence of Lisa's fertile fantasy life, fuelled by her unnerving surroundings and the mysteries shrouding her mother's hidden past, or are there, in fact, supernatural forces at work, feeding on the sins of the past and revisiting them on the next generation? But there's more to this film than hollow-eyed ghost girls, perilous forays into the cellar and things that go bump in the night. Like Rosemary's Baby or previous EIFF showing Joshua, Two Eyes Staring is a fascinating and uncomfortable expose of the sometimes uneasy relationships that exist between parent and child. Lisa's father Paul (Barry Atsma) is by turns best buddy and stern disciplinarian, while mother Christine (Hadewych Minis) struggles to balance her career ambitions with bringing up a child who reminds her uncomfortably of demons from her past, and is in turn resentful, doting and unnerved by her quietly staring offspring.

Okay, so there isn't a lot here you haven't seen before. Spooky houses, dark pasts and creepy children are hardly novel. But unexpected twists in the plot, a fantastic use of music and sound effects to create an atmosphere of unease and some solid central performances all serve to make Two Eyes Staring well worth seeing.

But is it scary? Perhaps better ask the two girls sitting next to me, who leapt out of their skins on regular intervals. For them it was less Two Eyes Staring, more like Two Eyes Shut

Good blend of supernatural and psychological terror

The Dutch haven't made many horror films. When asked to list the ones he knew of, director Elbert van Strien said there were only five, although he could only recall the names of two of them. In other words, Holland is not well represented in this genre. The only other significant film in this area was the 1988 film The Vanishing; although not a bona fide horror film, it certainly was disturbing enough. Two Eyes Staring is, however, an unashamed horror film, seeing as its subject matter concerns ghosts and malevolent secrets from the past. And although it may not contain anything that exactly breaks the mould, it does succeed in providing some very effective and memorable scare scenes.

The story is basically about a couple and their little girl, Lisa, who move into a large house left by a recently deceased grandmother. The said grandparent was decidedly distant from her daughter and once in the stately home all manner of dark secrets begin to surface via Lisa, who continually sees a ghost of a tragic little girl. These events lead to a serious breakdown in the family with tragic consequences.

Elbert van Strien has put together a very good ghost story here. He is helped ably by a small but good cast of actors. Especially fine were Isabelle Stokkel as Lisa, who puts in a great performance for such a young actress, but Hadewych Minis possibly steals the show as Christine, the mother; the two standout fright scenes in the film directly involve her. The first one sees Lisa awake in the night to see her mother staring down at her in a highly sinister way, while the second, and best, standout scene has Lisa witness her mother in the dead of night rabidly destroying her own artwork with a large kitchen knife, she then turns on her daughter with an extremely malevolent look on her face and attacks. In both of these simple but very well-executed sequences Hadewych Minis is truly terrifying. Alongside these well-crafted scenes, Two Eyes Staring also has a number of definite jump moments and the overall atmosphere is decidedly off-kilter. Although this is a ghost story it is also as much as anything about psychologically damaged people. This of course means that it is disturbing on two levels.

This is a fine blend of both supernatural and psychological horror. As I said earlier, it doesn't really deliver anything especially new to the genre. Nevertheless, it actually works as a horror film in that it frightens and occasionally surprises. And this is much more than most films of its type achieve. Apparently, but sadly unsurprisingly, this Dutch movie is going to be remade in America, despite not even having been released beyond the festival circuit yet, so all I can say is see it before this happens.

a mixture of del Toro like film material

A mixture of del Toro like film material, not very original when i saw this one at the international premiere at the Edinburgh International film festival 2010.

A film worth seeing but nothing new if you are accustomed to films like the Devils backbone and the orphanage, (but not as good as either) Not bad from a country not known for horror/thriller films.

There's even talk of a Hollywood remake with an 'A' list star. The director wouldn't say who but that wont be as good as this original as with most Hollywood remakes it will be over the top and most likely rubbish.