Lawrence Chou–Dr. Wah
Yut Lai So–Yingying
Yin Ping Ko–Mun’s grandmother
Pierre Png–Dr. Eak
Edmund Chen–Dr. Lo
Wai-Ho Yung–Mr. Ching
Mun has been blind since she was a very young girl, but when given an opportunity to regain her sight using a dangerous cornea transplant, she takes what seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. When she begins to see eerie visions from the afterlife, it sends her on a quest to find the secret of the eyes’ original owner before the terrible visions she sees get worse.
Anyone who saw “Ringu”, the original Japanese version of “The Ring”, should already have an appreciation for Asian horror. With “The Eye”, Thailands infamous Pang Brothers (Danny and Oxide), best known for the crime film Bankok Dangerous, try their hand at this popular genre. Taking some common horror themes dealing with death and the afterlife, they redefine them with some of the most intriguing and stylistic visuals used in an Asian horror film. By doing this, they’ve created one of the eeriest and creepiest horror movies of the year so far.
There are many seemingly intentional similarities with M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Sixth Sense”. Like the character played by Haley Joel Osment, one sees a logical development of Mun’s character, as she tries to overcome her fear of the ghosts and spirits she sees to the point where she uses her powers to try to solve a few local mysteries.
Like last year’s French thriller, “Read My Lips”, the directors used blurred visuals to help the viewer empathize with Mun’s experience as she regains her eyesight and begins to see things. This is just one of the many thing that makes the movie so intensely scary. Like Mun, the viewer never knows when the ghosts might pop up or what they might do.
Another nice touch to the storytelling is the inclusion of a romantic interest for Mun in the shy doctor who she confides in, but they keep that aspect of the story subtle. The character interaction and dialogue is equally as good as that found in Ringu, as well.
The amazing and shocking twist in the final climactic scene of the movie is much better than the more obvious one from The Sixth Sense. Hard to see coming, its a fairly amazing effects sequence for what many will consider to be a rather low budget movie. It will leave you stunned and breathless.
What Didn’t Work:
There is no question that “The Eye” is derivative of many recent American horror movies, most notably “The Sixth Sense” and “Final Destination”. American viewers might not have the patience to deal with watching parts of the plot play out similar to those movies and some might feel that they’ve seen much of this before. There are certainly enough unique elements, particularly the way that the Pang Brothers introduce an element of Asian culture into the modern-day story, to make it worthwhile in its own right, but it’s certainly not 100% original.
Halfway through the movie, the movie becomes about Mun’s quest to discover the previous owner of her transplanted eyes and their history. This is where the tone of the movie shifts from something in the vein of “The Sixth Sense” to that of “The Ring”. Obviously, the Pang Brothers needed to resolve the story, but the sudden shift of focus from the city of Hong Kong to a small village in Thailand changes the look and feel a bit too drastically, right up until the jarring finale.
Although some might think they’ve seen this movie before and will know what to expect, there are enough interesting twists to make “The Eye” different from the American horror films from which it borrows. Frankly, it’s not too surprising that Tom Cruise’s production company has picked up the U.S. rights to an English-language remake, especially considering how a movie like “The Ring” did last year, but one wonders how well it would work if re-Americanized. Either way, “The Eye” is right up there with some of the creepiest foreign horror movies, right up there with Ringu and Guillermo Del Toro’s “The Devil’s Backbone”.
“The Eye” opens in New York and Los Angeles on June 6th and should materialize in other North American cities over the course of the summer.