Being stranded in Thailand by the political
uprising and the subsequent airport closure, Rainie and her
friends are unable to return home. Reluctantly, they stay
in an old and shabby hotel. Among them are Rainie’s
almost-broken-up boyfriend, Lok; Ling and her brother Rex;
Ciwi and her beloved boyfriend, Hei. From the moment they
check in the hotel, they come across three weird children
and a puppy, and then strange things begin to happen one after
The next day, Lok, Rex and Hei disappear
at the same time. The three girls search the hotel thoroughly
in hope of finding the three missing young men, but in vain.
To save their missing friends, the girls gather their courage
to seek the truth. The more they investigate, the more frightening
the truth they reveal of the shabby hotel…
The Pang Brothers are fast turning into a one-hit wonder, going by the state of their filmmaking following their breakout hit “The Eye”. Similar genre entries like “Recycle” have failed to impress, and other outright bombs like the Nicolas Cage remake of their own Thai movie “Bangkok Dangerous” and last year’s god-awful “The Storm Raiders” have only diminished their standing further.
So Danny and Oxide Pang are back at their “Eye” horror series again, this time attempting to regain some credibility by making Hong Kong’s first 3D horror movie. Of course, that extra dimension is lost on home video, so you won’t have that distraction to divert you from the fact that this is in fact as bad as their recent flicks. The excuse of a story goes like this- six Hong Kong teenagers on holiday in Thailand are trapped in a rundown hotel during the political chaos in 2008, where they encounter a female ghost and a dog that can see ghosts.
The script written by the Pang Brothers and Thomas Pang (yes, it’s another one of the Pang brood) spends the first half of the movie trying to build some tension among the human characters, in particular Rainie Yang and Shawn Yue, who are on the verge of a breakup. Unfortunately, what passes as characterisation turns out laughable, and the extent to which you care about each one of the forgettable characters falls on how pretty or handsome you think the actors in (I for one had my eye on Elanne Kwong).
The story picks up around the middle mark, when the sextet discovers a human with the face of a dog (I kid you not) and attempt to uncover the secrets behind this abomination. Lam Ka-Tung’s cleaver-wielding butcher gets considerable more screen time here, easily eclipsing any of the young leads in terms of screen presence. Evidently better at directing than writing, the Pang Brothers do manage some decent tension in the latter sequences, culminating in a CGI-ed ‘ghost world’ that seems re-cycled from “Recycle”.
Still, the movie is ultimately undone by a script that is content on being consistently shallow, a far cry from the smart psychological underpinnings that made the original “Eye” such a runaway success. Rainie Yang is largely unimpressive in her first big screen role, again paling in comparison to Angelica Lee (now married to Oxide Pang). The other young stars too can’t make much of their limited roles, and Shawn Yue, who receives top billing, is no more than an extended guest appearance absent for most of the movie.
Without the novelty of the added dimension, “The Child’s Eye” is no more than another tired exercise down well-worn horror clichés without the smarts that established the “Eye” franchise in the first place. An utterly underwhelming experience, it is a further reflection of the Pang Brothers’ decline and proof that they are probably the most overrated filmmakers in Hong Kong right now.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
The Dolby Digital 2.0 is decent enough to bring out the film’s assorted sound effects, though this certainly lacks the punch of the 5.1 track if you had seen the film in the cinema. Visuals are clear enough especially during the many dimly lit scenes.
by Gabriel Chong
Posted on 7 January 2010