Two words. Angelica Lee. She carried this film. I hear Hsu Chi is in the sequel but the only thing you can be sure of is her hair will look great in it. Anyways I’m digressing. So what is the film like? Well, very creepy indeed — in the goosebumps-raising, arm-chair gripping, eyes-rivetted and teeth-grinding way. And the ocassional jump [if you’re a wuss like me]. In short, it’s good.
Mun [Angelica Lee] has been blind since young and after waiting for many years, is a lucky recipient of a cornea transplant . Needless to say she is overjoyed and her new sight brings many first sensory experiences — sensing light and colours, seeing her family and realising her psychotherapist is such a young spunk [Lawrence Chou]. Although her sight will take a while to get to 100% she soon realises that her new sight came with an extra [unwanted] sense thrown in and her new found joy becomes a horror.
The Pang brothers certainly take their time in slowly unveiling this revelation allowing the tension to build up with some shots of incredible visual flair. The story weaves through the plot events skillfully, Mun’s initial groggy vision to her suspicion and eventual denial that she might be witnessing more than she should.
The Pang brothers who cut their teeth in the Thai and HK movie industry [Danny co-edited Bangkok Dangerous it doesn’t mean The Eye is full of cookie-cutter shots either. In particular, the unsettling scene at the hospital corridor where Mun is trying to focus stands out as a memorable shot, delivering the scares while being technically impressive.
Having said that, they couldn’t keep the momentum going at the same pace in the second half. As Mun’s psyche becomes increasingly fragile, she travels to Thailand to search for the truth and to discover through whose eyes she is witnessing such horrors. That’s not to say Mun’s search wasn’t engrossing, it just felt like it momentarily went from horror to investigative mystery all within the one bus ride into Thailand. Compounding this effect is the tired cliche of her doctor falling in love with her. While I couldn’t blame him, Angelica being such spunk an all, it was still old ground that doesn’t deserve revisiting. Thankfully, they do redeem themselves. Aside from delivering some eerie set pieces of thrills in the second half it was heartening to see the Pang brothers imbue a tender poignancy into the reason behind the horrors.
The Eye has a few flaws but nothing so detrimental that would affect this extremely absorbing tale. The Pang brothers are enthusiastic and creative in this genre and has obviously rang the right alarm bells at Hollywood. There will be a US remake and it’s been announced they will directing their first Hollywood feature [produced no less by Sam Raimi]. But before you see that, check out The Eye and see their work before it goes through the Hollywood filter.