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The Eve

Any place can be creepy when it's quiet and dark, but there's often something especially poignant and unsettling about a bustling, popular tourist area left empty during the off-season, perhaps still haunted by echoes of happier times. On the island of Nantucket there's also a stark beauty about the place in winter, and in The Eve it's perhaps partly this that lures a group of friends there to ring in the New Year.

Scott (Al Thompson) and his family own a vacation house there, and he's invited his on-again, off-again girlfriend Jenn (María DiDomenico) and their best friend Harrison (Evan Bass) there for the holiday and to help them reconnect, since they haven't been able to spend much time together of late. Like a lot of college friends they've drifted apart a little. And some of Harrison's time, at least, has been taken up with new girlfriend Lacey (Miranda Noelle Wilson), who he's invited along on the trip, to Jenn's annoyance.

The caretaker at the house, Joey (Rick Estabrook), seems a little creepy, but he's worked there for ages and Scott says he's fine. With no neighbors around they'll have the beach to themselves -- admittedly it's a freezing cold beach, but there's still a great view -- and plenty of time to hang out and catch up. Unfortunately there's already a snake in the grass waiting to cause problems: Harrison went in with Scott on a business deal that didn't go quite as planned, and while both lost the same amount of money, it's money that Harrison can ill-afford to lose, unlike the wealthier Scott.

And Lacey has some problems of her own. Besides the fact that she seems to be one of those people who are constantly attracting drama, she's also rather socially awkward, though Harrison seems to find that charming. He's also very protective, and he needs to be considering that bad things soon start happening. The film leaps from setup to all the characters in full-blown panic rather too quickly, in my opinion, but at least the setup is enjoyable and well-handled.

The characters are very genuine and (mostly) likable, and best of all they aren't compelled to drive the plot forward by doing stupid things -- at least for the most part -- and the relationships and tensions among them are convincing as well. Unfortunately the final reveal isn't quite as satisfying as the journey there, but while that didn't entirely succeed it's still a creative and intriguing premise. And the beautiful, bleak setting makes the film wonderfully atmospheric, even as it sometimes steals the show. There are worse places to meet your end.

The four friends in happier times, before the body count starts to rise,


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