All Reviews, Horror, International Films, United Kingdom

Close Your Eyes

In one of the most gripping opening scenes I have ever watched, a little girl runs from a man. She is dirty and bruised, and has obviously just escaped from his captivity. She runs onto a train track, as it is her quickest route to safety. As she follows it over a bridge, she’s suddenly faced with an oncoming train. Behind her, the man gains ground. Either way means death. It has been one minute since the film began.

This is “Close Your Eyes,” a surprisingly effective horror/thriller produced by a company not known for such films: the BBC. In it, Goran Visnjic (television’s “ER”) plays an amazingly gifted hypnotherapist whose talents seem almost supernatural. He is called in to help a child who has been struck mute after witnessing a serial killer and, ultimately, to help find the killer himself. His search leads him, along with a cute, feisty detective played by Shirley Henderson, into the world of a centuries-old pagan religion.

It’s quite good. The visuals are (for the most part) creative, and the tension slowly builds. The score sounds, a lot of the time, like something Bernard Herrmann (“Psycho”) would have written, which is appropriate because the film feels like an old-school psychological thriller. There isn’t much gore, but that didn’t stop me from squirming during at least one scene.

“Close Your Eyes” won’t likely win any awards, but it is a solid effort and a decent sleeper. When you get sick of watching all the recent horror remakes and sequels, check it out.

Pros: Goran has the doctor thing down pat by now. Creepy imagery.
Cons: Plot direction doesn’t always come naturally from the characters’ investigation, but is fed to them. Some viewers may feel it moves too slowly.
Review Rating: 3.5 out of 5 rats in a (rib)cage

“Close Your Eyes” (2002)
103 Minutes; UK
Rated R for violence and language.
Also known as: “Doctor Sleep”; “Hypnotic”

Goran Visnjic (Dr. Michael Strother)
Shirley Henderson (Janet Losey)
Paddy Considine (Elliot Spruggs)
Miranda Otto (Clara Strother)
Corin Redgrave (Chief Inspector Clements)
Claire Rushbrook (Grace)
Directed by: Nick Willing
Viewing Format: Import DVD

(Originally published on HorrorWatch)


About John Daily

John is a freelance writer, columnist and critic. His work has appeared in print, as well as on sites such as ScifiWatch and HorrorWatch (where he wrote under the complete meaningless moniker “Bloody Taco”). An archive of his film-related material is available at Currently, he can be found spouting his special brand of sarcastic nonsense at or Twitter (JohnNDaily).


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