Sensory deprivation in any form is a very scary thing, as it immediately takes you out of your comfort zone and forces you to rely on your remaining faculties, ones that you’ve probably paid little attention to, taking their continued presence for granted. Speech, sound, sight, smell and even taste are all built in survival skills that help you determine whether you’re in danger or not – these are your natural defence mechanisms that tell you whether it’s time to run, cross the street or switch off the radio when a One Direction song begins, and yeah, they aren’t adamantium claws that snickety snick their way out of your knuckles when you are backed into a corner, but you’d damn sure miss one of them if it was taken away.
See No Evil is the story of one such happening, when Sarah loses her sight in a horse riding accident. This is both careless and in need of more explanation I think. After her short rehabilitation she returns home to her Aunt and Uncles house to try and learn to live in her new dark world. Unfortunately, when her boyfriend takes her out for a day out horse riding (they do say you should get right back on it …) she returns home to a very quiet house. That’s because her family have been horribly murdered, but being completely blind, Sarah doesn’t know this, because she can’t see the bodies strewn around the house as she goes about her daily life, and she also is unaware that the killer has left something behind, that he is definitely going to want to come back for.
This is true vintage horror at its very best, with the reliance of pure suspense and atmospherics to get the job done. Mia Farrow is perfect as the feisty yet extremely vulnerable lead, and the fact that we can see every lurking danger and near miss that the heroine cant makes for an extremely tense and uncomfortable watch. It’s aged beautifully, with the exception of the worrying period wardrobe and hair, it runs rings around some of its modern counterparts, without resorting to flashy effects or buckets of blood. Very reminiscent of the 1967 thriller Wait Until Dark, although in my opinion Farrow is a far more believable actress, with such effortless fragility and emotive reactions, while Hepburn’s portrayal of a blind girl in peril was too quaffed and stilted to really suspend the audiences disbelief.
Though Polanski’s cult favourite Rosemary’s Baby will always be what Farrow is remembered for, Blind Terror was truly her best work, showcasing her talent for what it is: Pure brilliance.
So just maybe, just maybe, we can forgive the lady for marrying Woody Allen one day …