Eye See You (AKA D-Tox) (2002)

This Seven/Silence of the Lambs wannabe proves that it’s better to be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in Hollywood. Initially tabbed for a theatrical run (with the slightly less silly title D-Tox), Eye See You was shelved for three years before it went straight to video in the US. As a theatrical release, it’s bland and deserving of critical ire, but amidst the unwashed masses of direct-to-video tripe, it’s a gem.

Yes, it’s very much a been-there-done-that affair, but its solid production value (Reportedly budgeted at over $50 million. Ouch.) and impressive cast place it head and shoulders above the usual shot-on-video backyard slag. A good portion of that cast — selected, no doubt, to provide ballast against star Sylvester Stallone’s marble-mouthed monologues — is black: namely, Courtney B. Vance, Jeffrey Wright and Charles Dutton. But even with perennial horror movie bait like Dutton, none of the three dies! This almost makes up for Stallone knocking out Mr. T in Rocky III.

Vance and Wright play burnt-out cops cooped up with Sly’s alcoholic FBI agent character, Jake Malloy, in a remote Wyoming “detox” center in the middle of a blizzard. Dutton, meanwhile, plays Malloy’s boss, who comes to realize that there’s a serial killer in the center and must plow through the snow (a la Hallorann in The Shining) to help save his man. In Ten Little Indians fashion, the killer, who earlier in the film gave Malloy’s fiancée an “eye full,” picks off the patients one by one, and it’s up to Sly to figure out whodunit. Could a black man actually be the killer? If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit…

Brett had admired the punch bowl until he took a swig and realized that it was in fact a spittoon.
The Thanksgiving centerpiece lacked a certain panache.
As Greg took stock of his life, he came to one decisive conclusion: he was fucking hot.
“That’s right, I dealt it.”

What do you think?