The Eye (2002)

"Weak"

The Eye (2002) Review


Of all the horror films that spring to mind while watching the Pang brothers' stylish if only sporadically frightening The Eye, none is more amusing than Body Parts. That moronic vehicle for B-movie heartthrob Jeff Fahey concerned a man whose decapitated arm is replaced by the appendage of a serial killer on death row, and which eventually turns out to still be controlled by said killer, who wants his arm back! It was one of the 1990s' most inane "it's so awful that it's come back around to being good again" guilty pleasures, and features a truly inspired performance by Fahey's arm, which flails about wildly under the possessed guidance of its original owner. Even in some quarters today, unexpectedly smacking someone next to you can easily be explained by the simple phrase, "Sorry, it was my serial killer arm."

But I digress. Like Fahey's insipidly entertaining film, The Eye is about transplanted body parts that can't seem to shake the influence of their former hosts. Mun (Angelica Lee) has been blind since the age of two, but a recent cornea transplant has miraculously given her the gift of sight. The only problem is that, along with sight, Mun seems to have gained a "second sight" as well: She can see sinewy, indistinct figures (apparently death's bureaucratic minions) taking people away right before they die, and even sees a mysterious stranger's face when she looks in the mirror. This prescience is confounding and terrifying for Mun, and she seeks the counsel of a psychotherapist named Dr. Wah (Lawrence Chou) to help her escape this terrible curse. In typical ghost story fashion, what both learn is that these spirits are hanging around their former haunts because they have unfinished business in the real world, and that it's up to Mun to help them complete their last earthly tasks and send them safely on their way to happy dead-person land.

Visually, the Pang brothers' (Bangkok Dangerous) latest is both sleekly ominous and hopelessly derivative, with every ghoul a mere rehash of The Sixth Sense's wandering dead and everything else - the film's bland female heroine and useless male sidekick, washed-out steel grey color palette, jarring musical cues, and hopelessly familiar story involving a dead witch whose spirit continues to haunt the living - blatantly lifted from Ringu (remade for U.S. audiences last year as The Ring). But if the film's lack of originality is its most problematic aspect, The Eye's ultimate failure is simply a dearth of genuinely startling moments. Edited with razor-sharp precision, the film elicits most of its scares from delightfully sudden and discomforting changes in perspective, and a few of the ghosts - most notably one haunting the calligraphy school Mun attends - manage to provide a jolt. Yet it's disappointing to find the film's most deliciously terrifying surprise occurs during the film's opening credits.

One could make the case that Mun's plight reveals the futility (or at least imperfection) of sight, and the Pang Brothers do seem interested in rebuking the notion that physical (or extrasensory) sight somehow grants people greater knowledge of, or control over, the world around them. With a film like The Eye, however, the primary objective is to terrify the pants off of moviegoers as frequently as possible, and, despite a few bone-rattling shocks, those looking for a really good ocular-themed scare are still better off picking up a copy of Luis Buñuel's surrealist masterpiece Un Chien Andalou.

Aka Jian gui.



Facts and Figures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Cast & Crew

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

Advertisement
The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.