Herald rating: 2/5
Cast: Jessica Alba, Alessandro Nivola, Parker Posey
Director: David Moreau, Xavier Palud
Running Time: 97 mins
Rating: M (Contains Supernatural Themes)
Screening: Hoyts, SkyCity and Berkeley Cinemas
Verdict: Interesting idea but predictably delivered.
Hollywood seems to have limited ambitions for its horror/suspense films, relying on Asian horror films for material, and using regurgitated ideas and the same old horror tricks in an attempt to frighten us out of our senses. This remake of a Hong Kong horror film by Thai-born brothers and directors Danny and Oxide Pang is no different.
The Eye stars the stunning Jessica Alba, independent film favourite Parker Posey and the studiously sexy Alessandro Nivola. It's a good cast, but no one manages to completely convince you of its intriguing though far-fetched premise, nor are they able to distract you from spending most of your viewing time comparing this horror film to many others.
Sydney Wells (Alba) is a talented violinist who has been blind since a tragic accident at age 5. The film begins on the eve of her double corneal transplant.
The operation goes well and with help from her sister Helen (Posey), and ophthalmologist Paul Faulkner (Nivola), she slowly adjusts to the overwhelming sensation of being able to see again.
That is, until she starts seeing dead people, accompanied by a blurry, alien-like representation of death, that when it comes to get its victims screams in an agonising manner, similar to Edvard Munch's painting The Scream. Not only does Sydney see dead people, but at 1.06am each morning her apartment turns into a completely different place, where a tragic fire occurs.
Dr Faulkner suggests Sydney's visions are merely her brain trying to decipher all that she can suddenly see again, but Sydney is sure they're connected to her anonymous eye donor and finding out what happened to the donor is the only way she is going to stop the ghastly sleep-depriving visions.
The random dead people in her elevator and hallway don't really add much to this story, and the Sixth Sense I-see-dead-people routine feels a bit old. The well-timed classic horror music does a great job of building up to revealing a ghost or piece of action, and along with the figures of death is suppose to contribute to a frightening atmosphere, but somehow The Eye doesn't seem terribly scary at all.
It's a nicely put-together film, but thanks to other remakes of Asian ghost films such as The Grudge, The Ring and Dark Water, somehow The Eye unfolds just as you imagine it's going to.