Sunday, October 12, 2008
This is a nice and watchable but derivative little J-horror flick about a blind girl who gets a cornea transplant and starts seeing dead people. And yeah, the words Hayley Joel and Osmet will start going through your head a lot during this movie. But it occurred to me while watching this one just how brilliant it was for Shymalan to choose one of the "dead people" as the perspective for his superior movie. Here, we're in the head of the girl, and while there are a couple of spooky scenes early on, it soon seemed pretty clear to me that there wasn't really any peril involved, so it became more like a mystery than a horror film over the second half. There's nothing wrong with that of course, so I don't think that's a major strike against it.
Where this one does lose points with me, however, was in its editing. It just felt untidy. The best example of this was a major subplot involving a kid who committed suicide because he lost his report card. The girl's sister and grandma appear to have been involved in this somehow, but it's unclear how/why, and we never get back to it. Some of the effects also distracted me: when the death dude gets too close at one point, you can see through the blur that it's just a guy in a black turtle neck pulled up over his chin. Ooooooh, scary! And there's an explosion at the end when a gas truck leaks and ignites, and all of a sudden it's Hiroshima, bodies instantly fried mid-pose, even while sitting inside cars. And yet the girl and her beau/shrink just dive to the ground and somehow escape unharmed. Or maybe she loses her vision again...but he seems to escape unharmed.
All that said, this movie definitely doesn't suck. The lead actress is quite good, and she carries the film; and as much as you've seen this all before, it still makes for pretty compelling viewing. The cornea transplant thing is a nice frame, IMO.