Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Eye

So Cool

So I haven't watched the original Eye movie by the Pang Brothers, but I guess with remakes these days, it doesn't really matter, since most of the time, the Hollywood remade version pales in comparison with the original, despite having a bigger budget, bigger stars and of course, better visual effects. And what almost always seem woeful, is the attempt to try and recreate the atmospherics for a spook fest that Asian horror had perfected, and I'm inclined to suggest that they should adapt the storyline (since there's a creative dearth of ideas), but leave the mimicking of mood at the door.

This is probably the first movie that Jessica Alba marquees, and comparisons would be abound for those who've watched the original to compare her to Angelica Lee's performance. But really, I don't think it matters, since all you need to do is to look pissed scared. As blind violinist Sydney, Alba escapes the need to act blind given the cop out of using shades, coupled with the fact that her transplanted eyes allow for the camera to be out of focus for the most parts.

Things start to get interesting when she begins to see shadowy figures borrowed straight out of Pulse (yet another Asian horror remake), and these all get conveniently debunked by her doctor Paul (Alessandro Nivola who stars as the hopeless, formless Gavin Harris in the Goal movies), because if you're blind for so many years, your brain needs some major time out to absorb all the new sights you're constantly bombarded with. So goes as with standard horror fare, that those who can see spirits when others can't, are classified as nutcases. Alba's no scream queen as the proceedings don't allow her to exercise her lungs, and I swear there are just too many of those waking up from nightmare moments, and the clock ticking around 1:05am.

But credit is due though to the scenes which aim to frighten, and some did hit the mark even though they're the usual tools to surprise from the bag of Boo tricks. There are, to me, a major unexpected moment which I had to nod in acknowledgement of not seeing it coming (I had thought otherwise), but unfortunately, that was it. The latter half of the journey became a road trip movie which sought answers, coupled with Hollywood's preoccupation of having to explain and show everything, leaving little to your imagination since everything was spelt out. While the story's not at fault, the way it's presented made this look like a standard mystery thriller, without the mystery, and without the thrills.

And the finale was a little lacklustre as it seemed to be styled in Final Destination fashion, making it look like it had no more rabbits to pull out of the hat. The Eye had plenty of neat visual effects, and although there are some beautiful stunts involving glass shards and the walking through of objects, special effects alone do not make a horror movie spine-chilling. Looks like there's some major sty in this eye.

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