Two couples head for Martha’s Vineyard to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Three of the four are also out to rekindle college friendships. The fourth is one of the three’s new girlfriend and she is trying her best to fit in with the others. But there is a psychotic murderer about and their holiday doesn’t go as planned.
The Eve opens with a New Year’s Eve countdown to midnight and fireworks playing on an old cathode ray tube television. The scene cuts to a man sitting in a chair, his eyes blank and unfocused. Cut to the man’s white, t-shirted stomach and there’s a cook’s knife buried in it. Now pan across the room to a whiskey bottle laying on its side and finally to a girl in her early teens wearing a full length, flannel nightgown, crouched against the wall. The soundtrack goes to a woman humming Auld Lang Syne.
Next we see two couples, Scott & Jenn and Harrison & Lacey, heading to Scott’s family’s vacation home on Martha’s Vineyard to bring in the new year. Scott (Al Thompson), Jenn (Maria DiDomenico), and Harrison (Evan Bass) are old college friends trying to renew their bonds, in other words, for auld lang syne. Lacey (Miranda Noelle Wilson) is Harrison’s new girlfriend and therefore is the odd one out.
There are some ghosts from the past that add to the relationship dynamics between the four. Scott and Jenn were boyfriend and girlfriend but have broken up sometime in the past. However, during the film, they seem to have moved to a “friends with privileges” mutual arrangement. Harrison has invested his “life savings” on a development that Scott told him about. However, the development has been sabotaged by the legal principle of eminent domain and the two stand to lose some significant bucks. Scott takes a Zen-like approach to losing his money and seems to think they will be able to get at least some of it back, but it will take a while. Harrison, on the other hand, is freaking out and wants his money now. He thinks Scott doesn’t care that much about losing the money because his family is wealthy so he doesn’t have to worry. But Scott wants to succeed on his own and does not like going to his family for money. Finally, Lacey has problems with intimacy and discloses that her mother wasn’t around and her father was a “very not nice man.”
The couples bicker and bond and bicker and bond until finally, after smoking some pot, Lacey kisses Scott. This sets off some verbal and emotional fireworks among the two couples, and they all stalk off in different directions. Scott ends up at the beach where he is attacked and killed by an unseen assailant. Eventually, the other three go looking for Scott and discover his body. And of course, more deaths ensue.
The Eve is directed by Ritchie Steven Filippi and is his first full length feature. The script is written by Evan Bass, who also plays Harrison. The theme as you can probably tell, is New Year’s Eve and various interpretations of Auld Lang Syne as discussed by the two couples in their first scene on the way to Martha’s Vineyard. As detailed in their conversation, the song is conversely played at celebrations and funerals. It can, on one hand, be seen as optimistic, saying goodbye to the past, moving on, and getting closure. On the other hand, Auld Lang Syne can be weird and depressing and about trying to change but repeating the same thing over and over again. Not a bad theme.
However, I didn’t get much more out of this film in terms of suspense or entertainment. I knew where we were going almost immediately so there’s no suspense there. There is only one possible villain outside our main cast of four and that’s Joey (Rick Estabrook), the caretaker for Scott’s family property. Joey is obviously a little weird and off when we are introduced to him. But he is also obviously a red herring that I never seriously considered as the killer. No, the solution to the mystery was transparent from the start, eliminating most of the tension or suspense.
One way to create suspense is when likable characters are put in danger. Part of the problem with The Eve is that Harrison and Lacey are not likable characters. I got sick of Harrison whining about his investment and of the severe and critical way he treated everyone else. He seemed determined to ruin everyone’s holiday. And to top it off, he takes an action that everyone, including himself, thinks is a dumb and dangerous idea. But, he does it anyway because he just … has … to do … something. Lacey is a little too over the top sweet and naïve at the beginning of the movie. And she too takes an unexplainably stupid action when she kisses Scott in full view of Jenn and Harrison. We never really get a motive for the kiss other than that she is seriously messed up. Jenn and Scott are the most likable characters in the film and Scott is the first one to go. That’s when I started losing interest.
The actors do a good job with what they are given but I think the problem is in the script, or possibly the editing. There is no real reason to care about the characters and there is no real mystery to solve. I think the idea for the story is interesting, but something got lost in the telling.
I give The Eve 2 out of 5 blatant red herrings. But that’s just me.