The Movie Waffler New to Amazon Prime Video - BLIND | The Movie Waffler

New to Amazon Prime Video - BLIND

blind review
A blind former actress is terrorised in her Hollywood Hills home by a masked maniac.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Marcel Walz

Starring: Sarah French, Jed Rowen, Tyler Gallant, Ben Kaplan, Caroline Williams, Thomas Haley, Sheri Davis, Jessica Galetti

blind marcel walz poster

Ever since Dorothy McGuire's mute heroine was menaced by a serial killer in Robert Siodmak's 1946 thriller The Spiral Staircase, genre filmmakers have been giving us protagonists with disabilities. It's a potential minefield, as in adopting a disabled hero or heroine a movie runs the risk of coming off as exploitative and cruel. Most of such films avoid this by having their protagonists turn their disability in their favour, most notably Audrey Hepburn's blind heroine of Wait Until Dark turning off the lights in her apartment to even the field against her sighted attacker. In genre cinema, disabled protagonists are generally given agency, as what sort of sicko would want to simply watch a disabled person be victimised?

With Blind, director Marcel Walz has created a thriller that seems to be aimed at exactly that sort of sicko. The protagonist of his superficial movie is Faye (Sarah French), a former actress whose rising career was ended when a botched lazer eye surgery procedure left her completely sightless. Despite the well-meaning efforts of her small support network - blind at birth friend Sophia (genre stalwart Caroline Williams) and mute counsellor Luke (Tyler Gallant), who has an unrequited crush on her - Faye lives a reclusive life in her home in the Hollywood hills.

blind marcel walz review

After an opening act that attempts to give us a sense of the life Faye now lives - but which is dogged by atrocious screenwriting that makes you think you've mistakenly flipped over to a daytime soap - we settle down for a final hour that plays out in something approaching real time. The unsuspecting Faye is menaced, first by the creep who delivers her sushi (Ben Kaplan) and helps himself to some panties from her bedroom, then by the film's antagonist, a hulking brute (Jed Rowen) clad in a "pretty boy" mask that gives him the appearance of that Brazilian bloke who spent millions on plastic surgery to transform himself into a living Ken doll.

When I say it plays out in real time, I mean that quite literally, as Walz appears to forget about that vital filmmaking technique known as editing. Scenes run on interminably in extended takes, and a couple of times the movie pauses to morph into a music video as Faye dances slowly around her living room while Pretty Boy imagines himself waltzing with the beautiful actress in his arms.

blind marcel walz review

At one point Pretty Boy stands mere inches from Faye, who somehow doesn't smell or sense his presence. This is representative of the film's complete lack of understanding of blindness. While French does her best in the role, little thought has been given to how a blind person functions. This extends to the production design of Faye's home - why are there lit candles and lamps all around a blind woman's home? The agency you expect the film to give Faye is oddly absent. She never gets the chance to fight back in typical Final Girl fashion - she's simply a victim, the sort of character who's usually the first to die in a horror movie. Watching this vulnerable figure be menaced simply isn't fun, and it's only creepy on an initial surface level.

Previous thrillers with blind protagonists (or in the case of Don't Breathe, an antagonist) have recognised the importance of sound design, an aspect Walz overlooks. The stalking scenes are accompanied by Klaus Pfreundner's overbearing score, which drowns out the many little sounds Faye should be picking up - it's as though Faye can hear the film's score along with the audience.

blind marcel walz review

Faye is often given to expository monologuing, and there's a recurring critique of Hollywood's reluctance to cast disabled performers. After reaching stardom, Faye has now been cast aside, with seemingly no support from the industry that made a fortune from her stardom. But Blind itself is complicit in the very thing it's criticising, as French is a sighted actress. The hypocrisy is staggering.

Any positives of Blind are merely superficial. Visually, 'Pretty Boy' is a genuinely creepy looking villain, and it's a shame his potential is wasted. Thomas Rist's cinematography bathes the film in a neon sheen reminiscent of the digital works of Michael Mann. It all makes for an arresting two minute trailer, but the actual film is a 90 minute bore.

 is on Amazon Prime Video UK now.

2020 movie reviews