Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Eye

(2002) ***

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.


Octopunk said...

This was actually the very first J-horror (K-horror, whatever) movie I watched and it still knocks my socks off.

I saw it on a fuzzy VCD that JPX had and the low resolution probably improved the horror. I didn't notice it was shot on video until the second viewing. But I thought the turtleneck dudes were wicked scary.

Catfreeek said...

I really liked the story in this film. Sometimes J-horror can be a bit hard to follow but this one had a nice flow to it.

JPX said...

I have this on VCD, perhaps that why we didn't notice it was on video, Octo? It does seem derivative now, but remember, in 2002 the J-horror thing was prety new - I think many have copied it since. I've never seen the remake. There are 2 sequels. The Eye 2 is pretty bleak. Nice review!

DCD said...

Nice review, LS. We're waiting for Ju-On to come from Netflix so desroc can see it. I'm pretty psyched to watch it again!

Johnny Sweatpants said...

Great review.

I have this problem where whenever I get confused in a J-horror movie I blame myself for not being familiar enough with the culture and feel like I'm missing something fundamental.