Film, Film Review

REVIEW: Eyeballs in the Darkness (2023) dir. Albert Birney

An experimental animated journey with endless surprises


Fresh off his Sundance hit Strawberry Mansion, Albert Birney has returned to the world of Tux and Fanny, crafting an ambitious sequel titled Eyeballs in the Darkness that takes the characters on new adventures. For the uninitiated, Tux (pink) and Fanny (purple) are Russian-speaking best friends who experience both the mundane and the surreal on a daily basis. They approach every new obstacle with curiosity and good humor, even when mortal peril abounds. The scope is wider, the animated mishaps are more cohesive, and the experiments are grander.

Eyeballs in the Darkness finds our heroes on a quest for a new home. This adventure takes the pair to a mysterious cabin, a wide desert, and the high seas. While the film is still primarily animated with 8-bit sprites, Birney finds ways to incorporate dreamlike stop-motion, 3D models, and even live-action sequences whenever possible. Some of this comes from a biting ladybug inside Fanny’s brain that changes his perception of reality, some are just because it looks great. Anything can happen!

It’s difficult to describe Eyeballs in the Darkness with simple words because so much of it is just visual splendor. Like the original film and the video game, you will just be blown away by the creativity Birney infuses into every moment. It won’t take long for you to understand the logic, or lack thereof, in this digital world.

Read my interview with director Albert Birney here!

Eyeballs in the Darkness
Dir. Albert Birney
106 min

Available Tuesday, 1/31 on and soon on blu-ray from Albert’s website.

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