STUDIO: Genius Products
MSRP: $14.95
Unrated, but not because of good
RUNNING TIME: 90 Minutes

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The Pitch

James Van Der Beek goes Squid Pro Quo with a large plate of fried calamari.

Alternate Taglines

Da Beak vs. Der Beek!

You Will Believe a Squid can Squim.

Man vs. Delicacy in the Ultimate Challenge!

Urotsukidojii Was Only The Beginning.

Dawson’s Creeped.

The Ultimate in Terror is Not Who You Ink It Is.

The Humans

Director: Gary Yates

Writer: Mark Mullin

Cinematographer: Robert Elswit

Cast: James Van Der Beek. Alexandra Castillo. Arne McPherson. Ryan Rajendra Black. Erik Fjeldsted. Stephen Eric McIntyre.

GOLDEN RULE: Never bring a fist to a tentacle fight.

The Nutshell

A small lake community is besieged by a two-pronged attack of a giant killer squid and ocean science from the likes of James Van Der Beek.

The Lowdown

I’m a sucker for anything involving a sea creature of any sort, well except Nathan Lane Goes Swimming. Sharks, squids, stingrays, water mummies, you name it and I’ll queue up for it. The amazing cover artwork for Eye of the Beast with its man in bloody turmoil and roiling seas and irritated killer squid all turned the proper screws in my primitive brain, so when this DVD arrived I knew it was all for me to watch and review for you lucky people.

Yes, I was fully aware that this was a tiny budgeted direct-to-viewmaster James Van Der Beek vehicle but have I mentioned that I enjoy seeing slimy water creatures having their way with terrestrials?

“James, stop! Hacking your agent isn’t going to make the hurt go away!”

The problems with Eye of the Beast are not numerous, they are LEGION.

As soon as I started the film, everything good about everything that is good washed away. When limited in budget a film needs to become more aggressively creative and do whatever it takes to stick out from the herd. These ‘Maneater’ films all seem to enjoy the lowest common denominator school of thought, adhering to the Jaws/Grizzly/Piranha formula without adding their own signature or maintaining the fun and character of the originals. Usually a bad sign. This film in particular is geared towards the SciFi Channel crowd, and its mostly bloodless and toothless way of unleashing its horror only reinforces the fact that films like these are offensive cash and grabs where they could easily be both lucrative and God forbid… GOOD. But they aren’t. A few quick reasons why this film doesn’t even deserved to be dipped in Marinara:

  • The film takes place at a lake. The villain of the piece is a Lake Squid. I didn’t sign up for a Lake Squid.
  • Lakes are boring. The ocean is vast and unimpeachable. Lakes are shit.
  • Title character tasted “rubbery”.
  • Oceanagraphic science is dispensed by one James Van Der Beek.
  • Squid has issues. Eats patriarchs but we don’t get to see. Eats a girl but doesn’t taste the leg, though it doesn’t mind shredding it from her form. Never comes all out of the water to fight ships until the end and then only to die wimpily.
  • Squid cannot decide whether it enjoys being shoddy practical effect or shoddy CGI effect.
  • The government agency that sent Van Der Beek is not excited to be dealing with no sea monster.
  • Subplot involving Indians and Caucasians somewhat less moving than Dances With Wolves.
  • James Van Der Beek’s government scientist Dan Leland arrives to discover why the local fish are all disappearing even though the fishermen of both Indian and European descent aren’t overfishing and are baffled as well. Makes you wonder how our tax dollars are being spent.
  • Squid casts an extremely dark 2-D shadow while underwater.
  • Van Der Beek casts an extremely dark 2-D shadow while underwater.
  • There’s a supposed “Sea Monster Legend” at this lake community but no one cares to point a finger at it when all the fish disappear and people get devouved.


A film like this should be one we champion here at the Sewer. It’s a monster vs. mankind movie and it doesn’t have any reason to be anything but fun. But it doesn’t want to have fun, does it? It wants to be boring.

It succeeds!

The legendary James Van Der Beek arrives the day after a coupling couple are semi-attacked and semi-beaten by a semi-hidden dweller from beneath their boat in the achingly boring placid lake at the heart of the resort [if you’re fucked by life] community of Fell’s Island. Former guests include: Jack Tripper. Chrissy Snow. Janet Wood. James has arrived to deal with missing fish, but we all know the score. His stubble tells us he’s the perfect guy to battle a Kraken-in-Training in a battle of wills. The local [Canadian] fishermen, led by the Hugh Laurie-faced Arne McPherson, are displeased that a nerd has entered their midst to solve their “problem”. They also are at odds with the local Indians, who live in the old way and don’t enjoy being swatted apart by the White Man. Poor Van Der Beek is in the middle of a struggle that goes above and beyond pinching and suctioning cephalopod action.

The title character looks for the exit.

Add a half-breed law enforcement type with a deadly past and you have still a ball of shit.

The film cranks along on autopilot with no passion, no good action, and nothing that would satisfy fans of monster movies or people who like seeing squids lose. It’s one of those movies that just doesn’t even care enough to suck really bad or be really inventive and good, which is a worse thing than being intentionally bad.

Bland is much worse than bad, and this is bland times bland with six extra doses of bland thrown in.

The Package

“You ain’t never seen a squid bit bod?” “Uncle Jamie promised me he was beak-proof.”

There’s one of those “you don’t have a choice not to watch this” trailer that boots up with the DVD for the Maneater line of products from these folks and it’s hilarious and awesome and as dumb as slavery. That’s all you get, though the DVD case has those two little snaps to keep you away from Eye of the Beast‘s internal prize for a few more precious moments.

2.0 out of 10