VictimEYES (2009) – By Cary Conley

I attended the world premiere of this film last month. You never know what you’re going to get with a micro-budgeted indie film, especially from a tiny place like Henderson, Kentucky. I was more than pleasantly surprised.
I’ve seen tons of these no-budget films and I can say that this film is better than dozens of films that get some kind of release, either regionally in theaters or on DVD by a legitimate distribution company

Yes, the director has never done a "feature film" and yes, the main actors are all local amateur talent. But the director has been in the film/video business in various capacities for nearly a quarter of a century and the actors all have a great deal of theatrical experience.

The film is a crime thriller about a rapist/murderer (played by a creepy Seth Cheek) who was caught in the midst of completing his thirteenth and final crime. While he was wounded before he was able to end his victim’s life, he does manage to blind her before being shot (hence the title "VictimEYES", a nifty play on words as well as a hint as to the action in the movie).

13 months later, the lone survivor of the rampage (played by Katie Morton) is struggling to cope with her new handicap, which causes friction in her relationship with her boyfriend. She is still getting used to her blindness and feels safe in her own home where she knows where everything is located, but her boyfriend feels like she is wasting away at home.

Things really begin to pick up when the rapist escapes from prison and begins a second series of murders, with his goal being to finish what he started by killing the lone surviving victim of his previous crime spree. Will the killer be able to complete his mission, or will his blind victim be able to survive a second attack? Director Chaney shows a real knowledge and flair with the camera and gives us numerous interesting shots and camera angles, and he doesn’t shy away from filming some pretty rough material. However, even though we have some nudity and graphic violence, the rapes are filmed fairly tastefully (if there can be such a thing), with the camera concentrating on the reactions of the victims as opposed to the more lurid aspects of the action.

The film is populated with stereotypical characters such as the smart-ass girlfriend of our blind victim, the hard-nosed police captain, the alcoholic ex-cop who lost his job after an embarrassing incident, and the rookie cop stuck in the middle. Our police captain, played by Frank Furbush, does a great job, with tongue planted firmly in cheek, of portraying the tough, crusty, middle-aged leader of the police force who is used to taking charge, but also likes to "mentor" the younger female detectives, if you know what I mean.

While some of the characters are classic stereotypes, Chaney proves deft at playing these scenes for fun and the result is a bit of comedy, which is needed to help lighten the dark tone of the film. Ashley Sides, as our blind victim’s smart-ass girlfriend also provides some good comedy. The audience laughed out loud at a couple of her quips.

Chaney also did a fabulous job in the film’s opening in introducing the history of the crime spree by alternating between a montage of crime scene photos and the latest victim being attacked, bringing us to the present by ending with a crime scene photo of the latest victim as the attack ends. Very powerful stuff.

Overall, this was a terrific little thriller and first-time feature and I think most people who enjoy independent films will be happy with this one. I must also mention that one of the most irritating aspects of viewing these types of films for me is the poor sound quality they generally have.  That is not the case here, as the sound is top-notch.  Hop over to the official site at http://victimeyesmovie.wordpress.com and buy a DVD for $10!