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The Eye

Hong Kong 2002
Directed by
Danny Pang / Oxide Pang
95 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
David Michael Brown
3.5 stars

The Eye

Synopsis: Mun, a blind 20-year-old girl, is given the opportunity to see when she has a corneal transplant. The resultant excitement is quickly tempered by the fact that she begins to see strange things lurking in the shadows. She soon discovers that her ocular donor had in fact committed suicide and that her new sight may in fact be a curse.

Wonderfully put together by the brothers Pang; The Eye was one of the films that put the new wave of Japanese horror films on the map. Along with Hideo Nakata’s The Ring and Takashi Shimizu’s The Grudge, this movie set the standard very high and caused a film wave of creepy schoolgirls and sinister ghosts to hit DVD store shelves the world over.

Danny and Oxide Pang use the celluloid medium to its fullest. They handle the special effects action in the film with aplomb, as you would expect from the directors of Bangkok Dangerous, but their approach to the human aspects of this drama lend an emotional core to the film often lacking in the horror genre. The film does follow a now familiar plot line as Mun tries to discover the truth about the suicide victim, much like the lead character in The Ring, but Angelica Lee as Mun is given plenty more to work with by the Pangs.

The imagery in The Eye is beautifully rendered. The moments when the strange spirits emerge from the shadows are spine-tingling. Subtle and mysterious, leaving just the right amount to the audience’s imagination, the sequences are genuinely unnerving. These quietly chilling moments make the film’s finale even more shattering. The moment of realisation as Mun finally understands what her gift really means is perfectly judged as she tries to save the lives of hundreds of people. The fiery vision of Hell as charred human remains erupt into plumes of ash-filled smoke will not be easily forgotten although the results are so gruesome they do in some respects jar with the subtle approach of the previous 90 minutes. With such a powerful, emotional denouement it’s no surprise that The Eye is being given the Hollywood remake treatment with Jessica Alba in the lead role. The original is slowly paced in parts but that’s nothing that a bit of MTV-style editing won’t change for the remake I’m sure.




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