Turn Back the Clock
The Eye (2002)
Distributed by: Lionsgate Pictures
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Several years ago, my brother got hold of a horror film created by the Pang Brothers called The Eye. He told me that it was in the style of movies like The Ring and The Grudge and that he thought I would really like it. Despite the fact that it was in a different language and I was going to have to read subtitles, I decided to check it out. He was 100% correct in his assessment. I loved the film. It has since been remade American style. I have refused to see this version as the original was perfect and could not be outdone.
As the story opens, we meet Wong Kar Mun (Angelica Lee), a talented and intelligent young woman who has been blind since she was two years old. Mun is about to undergo an operation to restore her sight using a pair of eyes donated posthumously. To all intents and purposes, the surgery is a success. Mun can see and has been assigned a psychotherapist (Lawrence Chou), who just so happens to be the nephew of the man who performed the surgery (Edmund Chen). The psychotherapist will help Mun in coping with and learning about her newfound vision.
What seems to be a blessing for Mun turns into a living nightmare as she realizes that she can now see things that no one else can. Her newly received eyes can see the spirits of dead people who are still roaming the earth thanks to sudden death couple with unresolved issues. Munís search for answers brings her to Thailand where she learns the disturbing tale of the woman whose eyes she has received.
Unlike The Ring and The Grudge, this movie does not seek to shock you with gory scenes or dead people who attack. We see these people as Mun does. Remember, Mun hasnít seen the world since she was two. She has difficulty telling the difference between the living and the dead at first, because she was too young when she first lost her sight. The blurred edges of the living and the slight transparency are chalked up to side effects of the surgery. It is only when it becomes apparent to Mun that no one else can see what she is seeing that she, and the audience, finally realizes something is wrong.
The music in the horror genre is, in my opinion, extremely important to the success of a horror film. Without a good musical score to accompany scary scenes, a movie will fall short in this genre. The musical score of The Eye is excellent in that it perfectly sets up each scary scene, keeping the viewer on edge with a heightened sense of awareness. The viewer is set up with either complete silence or strings in a high-pitched screeching fashion followed by a blast of music as whatever scary thing that is about to happen takes place.
The acting by Angelica Lee is incredible. You actually truly believe she can see the dead. Whether showing extreme terror, dread, anguish or happiness, everything this character feels is performed in such a way that is extremely believable to the audience.
The effects, for the most part, are terrific. No disjointed movements for these walking dead. When they donít walk just like you or me, they glide, sometimes through things. Sometimes theyíre just shadows, walking normally. The climactic scene towards the end of the movie was extremely well done and heavy on special effects. My only issue was with a specific part of the scene in which mannequins or life-sized maquettes were used. I canít tell you about the scene without giving too much away, but youíll know it as soon as you see it. In my opinion, that part could have been handled better.
The DVD version I watched recently included a Making of The Eye documentary. This, too, required reading subtitles, but I believe it is worth watching. Here, you learn that many of the moments in the film come from actual events and the testimony of people who claim to have seen ghosts. The documentary also goes into the special effects of the film, the actorsí takes on the characters and circumstances in the film, and more.
The Eye, in its original form, is the perfect example of what a good horror film is supposed to look like and how it is supposed to make you feel while watching it. In my opinion, the American movie industry had no business trying to remake what I believe was already a masterpiece. If you have any interest in seeing this film, make sure that you watch the original version of The Eye. You most definitely will not be disappointed.