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  Publicity Stills of "The Eye"
(Courtesy from Shaw)

Director: David Moreau, Xavier Palud
Cast: Jessica Alba, Parker Posey, Alessandro Nivola, Tamlyn Tomita, Chloe Moretz
RunTime: 1 hr 37 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: PG
Official Website: http://www.lionsgate.com/theeye

Opening Day: 28 February 2008


Sydney Wells (Jessica Alba) is an accomplished, independent, Los Angeles-based concert violinist. She is also blind, and has been so since a childhood tragedy. As our story opens, Sydney undergoes a double corneal transplant, a surgery she has waited her whole life to have, and her sight is restored. After the surgery, neural ophthalmologist Dr. Paul Faulkner (Alessandro Nivola) helps Sydney with the difficult adjustment, and with the support of her older sister Helen (Parker Posey), Sydney learns to see again.

But Sydney's happiness is short-lived as unexplainable shadowy and frightening images start to haunt her. Are they a passing aftermath of her surgery, Sydney's mind adjusting to sight, a product of her imagination, or something horrifyingly real? As Sydney's family and friends begin to doubt her sanity, Sydney is soon convinced that her anonymous eye donor has somehow opened the door to a terrifying world only she can now see.

Movie Review:

Another month, another unnecessary remake of an Asian horror movie. Arriving on the heels of the dismal "One Missed Call," "The Eye" is at least a bit more dignified, cleanly telling its story and doing it with a modicum of know-how. Unfortunately, the film sorely pales in comparison to 2003's Hong Kong original. That one was rich in mood and fraught with intentionally drawn-out, tension-filled scenes that genuinely frightened and got under the skin. This updated edition is quite faithful until the dumbed-down Americanized ending, yet time and again the treatment is inferior.

The Eye tells the story of a blind woman named Sydney Wells (Jessica Alba), who gets a cornea transplant. While her new eyes are working well, she suddenly discovers that they work too well. Not only do they allow her to see, they allow her to see the dead. Sydney is haunted by ghostly visions, and no one will believe her. She soon decides to track down her donor to solve the mystery.

As far as remakes go, this film is practically a carbon copy of the original Chinese-language film, which was directed by the Pang Brothers. If you’re familiar with the original, you’ll probably appreciate the remake. Some shots are taken directly from the first film, and there are minimal changes, many of which are for cultural reasons(But i can't figure out why they kept the report card boy scene intact..). Of course, Asian horror buffs will probably skewer this film for being too Americanized and treading on the good memory of the original. However, with smoother transition, it manages to keep many of the creepier moments and still have an impact which nicely round up each scene with a mystery aura instead of a sudden jolt. Indeed, there is one aspect of "The Eye" that improves upon its predecessor, and that is in the abilities of directors David Moreau and Xavier Palud, along with cinematographer Jeff Jur, to explore and depict the realities of a blind person who suddenly can see again. As Sydney gets acquainted with this new sense, she is bombarded with the faces of people she knows and cannot completely give up her old ways (i.e. she still reads in Braille and hits the auditory function on her alarm clock to check the time). A strong-willed go-getter with intelligence and a shade of vulnerability, Sydney is a notable protagonist whose life is more well-rounded than, say, the cookie-cutter one lived by Shannyn Sossamon's character in "One Missed Call".

With a stronger actress in the lead role of Sydney, this part could have really cooked. As is, Jessica Alba continues to prove that she can be cute and endearing in lightweight comedies but hasn't the dramatic weight or prowess to fill out serious roles. Alba's facial expressions range from scared to listless to strained, not all of which she convincingly pulls off. As confidante Dr. Paul Faulkner, Alessandro Nivola is bland to the point of nondescription; his participation in the story is next to superfluous. And, as sister Helen, Parker Posey shows up for a few days' work and runs with a studio paycheck no doubt large enough to keep her secure as she searches for smaller, riskier, more interesting projects. Still, it's a shame that someone like Posey has to play insignificant second-tier to Alba.

Normally in the horror arena, a film tends to kick up the level of suspense as it rounds the corner and heads toward the climax. In "The Eye," plot points are never dealt with and the creepy element goes slack the moment the setting switches to Mexico. The finale, meanwhile, is a cop-out of sunshine and roses and hasn't hardly any of the pathos of the tougher, less compromising Hong Kong version. Filmmakers David Moreau and Xavier Palud aren't without promise, but like the Pang Brothers last year with "The Messengers," their cerebral artfulness has not yet found a way to sneak by the jaws of the major studio system.

Movie Rating:

(A faithful remake that delivers the thrills and chills)

Review by Lokman B S


. One Missed Call (2008)

. The Orphanage (2007)

. The Reaping (2007)

. The Messengers (2007)

. The Grudge 2 (2006)

. Samara (2005)

. The Fog (2005)

. The Maid (2005)

. The Return DVD (2006)

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