16th November 2020 (UK)
A former actress, left blind after a botched surgery, struggles to put her life back together but realizes she isn't as alone as she thinks after meeting a few new friends.
Sarah French, Caroline Williams, Tyler Gallant
Within 30 seconds of starting, I was impressed by Blind.
Not because of any shocking revelation or huge twist to what I thought I was getting, but due to a neat creative touch. Before being displayed in typical text, they appeared in Braille. Sure, it does nothing to improve the accessibility of the film, nor does it lift off the screen (I checked), heck I don’t even know if the translation to the format was correct, but it is a nifty little touch nonetheless. Sadly, this is where my plaudits for Blind end.
Still coming to terms with a botched laser eye surgery operation which left her sightless, Blind follows former actress Faye (Sarah French) as she takes steps to rebuild her life. These include attending and hosting support groups at her swanky Hollywood Hills home and it’s at one of these that she meets new friends Sophia (Caroline Williams), who was born without vision, and Luke (Tyler Gallant), a mute Personal Trainer who communicates through his phone using text to speech. But when crazed stalker billed only as Pretty Boy sets his sights on an alone Faye, it ignites a nightmare for the star who must use her remaining senses to survive.
I cannot stress enough just how gruellingly slow Blind is. I’m all for an unhurried approach to storytelling, but my word – this one takes it to the extreme and, more unforgivably, has very little to say when all the cards are laid out. I sympathised with Faye to begin with. I can’t imagine what it would be like to experience the titular condition. But there’s only so much pity you can give to someone who does very little to help themselves. Even worse, for someone who is a safety liability, there are an alarmingly high number of open flames in her home. Candles everywhere. A roaring fireplace that looks to have been fuelled by a whole tank of gasoline. These kinds of things are frowned upon by the Fire Department for people with 20/20 vision, so to be alone and blind surrounded by flames is the epitome of foolishness.
That aside, there’s very little else going on in terms of narrative. Faye is hesitant to begin dating again, but Luke would really like to take her out. Sophia keeps pushing for Faye to take a chance on him. At times, I felt like I was watching a soap opera with a skeleton cast list. Only when short close up snippets of a hands working on a doll with some ominous music was I reminded that this is supposed to be a horror. Speaking of music, there are some truly baffling soundtrack choices to go with the imagery. One particular sequence has smooth, soulful R&B while a disturbance is investigated. Was it supposed to juxtapose the creepy nature of the visuals? If so, it didn’t work for me. Another dragged out scene should have the lawyers for 80’s Synth-Pop group Visage scrambling for their phones to get royalties from a too-similar-not-to-be-stolen song which sounds suspiciously like their hit Fade To Grey. I suspect Director Marcel Walz didn’t count on ancient dinosaurs like myself to be watching his work to notice. No such luck, Walz!
It’s not like this premise is unsalvageable. The last ten years have seen a few successful sense-less horrors which all deal with losing an aspect of awareness. Don’t Breathe, Bird Box, Hush and the excellent Spanish thriller Julia’s Eyes (which I highly recommend over this). I think the difference between those and Blind is that this one assumes its lead is largely helpless against her attacker. The characters in the aforementioned films adapt to their less-than-ideal conditions. Especially Don’t Breathe. That guy used his lack of sight to turn his other senses – and biceps – up to 11.
I feel like there was an attempt to recreate that 80’s nostalgic feel to the film which everyone seems to be going for nowadays. Even the marketing materials could have been pulled from the endless supply of slashers on offer from the decade. Blind does not capture the essence of the time at all. It lacks any urgency, its antagonist is exceedingly dull and it’s simply just no fun. If extended scenes of watching a woman meandering around her fancy house while an uninspired masked figure lurks out of focus in the background is your idea of a good time, then by all means, Blind will be a blast for you.
Otherwise, close your eyes for an hour and a half. There’s more of a chance of something happening by falling asleep and dreaming than watching this.
Neat touch on the opening credits
Slow. Oh so slow.
Faye painted as helpless due to her condition