Since George A. Romero introduced zombies to pop culture, the undead have dominated the visual mediums – to the point where filmmakers began to run out of ideas. There are only so many things one can do with a zombie: they’re either fast or slow moving, vicious predators or brainless wanderers. The novelty therefore has to come from the themes and ideas revolving around the zombies and/or what zombies themselves represent. In the case of writer-director Daniel Meyers’ 8-minute short, Glass Eyes, the focal point is guilt – and that’s what makes the modest little chiller stand out from the crowd.
Switching between past and present, the filmmaker focuses on an attractive, unnamed young couple (Brian May and Sophia Lucia Parola). When a zombie apocalypse finds its way into their home, the man bails instead of helping his better half fight off one of the hideous fiends. In the bright and lucid light of day, he can’t help but feel guilty, as her zombie stalks. (Argh, men.) Many viewers are bound to find the final shot confounding – it’s so resolute it feels like it should work – but something seems off in context with the preceding events.
Several things are worthy of note. Rick Cook’s stellar, saturated cinematography and Brian May’s editing deserve credit for making the film look fantastic. A rock-paper-scissors game, for example, is cut in a highly effective manner that cunningly transports the viewer from past to present. The location also adds to the look and feel of the film: a house by a small harbor, where a zombie can be spotted in the background, wading through the ocean water. Natas Kunas’ score complements the proceedings with its eerie electronic motifs. Worthy of note is the golf outfit that golf zombie (Meyers) sports.
Perhaps the central theme of guilt could have been explored in a bit more depth. As it stands, the protagonist invokes next-to-no empathy. The couples’ dialogue by the fire could have been more fleshed out to further accentuate that theme, add some layers to it, spice things up. Is he an entitled trust fund baby? How long have they known each other? Little is revealed about the characters and it feels like the actors are aware of it and hence their performances falter. This is a case where a narrative could have used an extra couple of minutes.
Ultimately, Meyers’ film is worth your time for the production values alone. The filmmaker has a keen sense of pacing and camera placement, and more importantly, he makes one thing abundantly clear. . . he likes slow-moving zombies.