“The Eye” (2008)

 

Directors David Moreau and Xavier Palud bring us the latest in the growing trend of re-making and “American-izing” Chinese and Japanese horror films in the tradition of both “The Ring” and “The Grudge.” The latest project, “The Eye,” stars Jessica Alba (“Sin City”, “Fantastic Four”, “Into the Blue”), Parker Posey (“Scream 3”, “Superman Returns”, “Blade: Trinity”), and Alessandro Nivola (“The Company”, “Jurassic Park 3”). The film is a remake of a Hong Kong thriller called “Jian Gui” (2002).

Sydney Wells (Jessica Alba) has been blind since she was five years old, following an accident while shooting off fire-crackers with her older sister, Helen (Parker Posey). Despite her condition, Sydney has built a life for herself as an accomplished violinist and has learned to survive the world using her remaining other senses. After a successful cornea transplant gives Sydney her sight back, she begins having disturbing visions and dreams. She begins to she ghostly figures, and images of fire and death that she doesn’t understand. Her doctor, Paul (Alessandro Nivola), has problems believing her and is convinced she is only having difficulty adjusting to her recovered eye-sight. As the images become more intense, Syndey begins to question her own sanity and is at risk of slowly going insane if she can’t figure out what is happening to her, and why. As the film progresses along, Syndey begins to have more vivid images and begins to realize she has some connection with the spirit world. She seems to see only dead people, or images relating to them, and she suspects it has something to do with whomever donated her eyes.

The film is a great thriller, keeping you on the edge of your seat and for the first half does enough to make you wonder if Sydney really is just insane. As the disturbing images, and ghostly figures increase, the film does become genuinely creepy at times. While not as good as many other thrillers, the film does have a very good tone and feel and accomplishes the horror elements very well. The echo-like images of these tall spectral figures escorting the dead most definetly send a chill or two down your spine when they look back at camera, and are somewhat reminescent of the “Dementors” from the Harry Potter films, just without the cloaks.

The cast is mostly good-to-great in the film. A lot of the cameo secondary characters are well known actors, such as Rade Serbedzija as Sydney’s orchestra conductor and Obba Babatunde as the Doctor who performs the surgery on Sydney in the opening of the movie. Parker Posey is good as always, but not in the film much, and Alessandro Nivola has definetly improved since his campy performance in “Jurassic Park 3,” but still has moments where he struggles to portray the right emotion or right amount of emotion for the scene(s). Jessica Alba, lets be honest here, has never gotten a job in Hollywood on her acting ability, but she has had moments in films where she has done an admirable job. Here she is average at best, but the familiar face (ala Sarah-Michelle Gellar in The Grudge) helps us threw the slow opening of the movie and makes us sympathetic to Sydney. Alba has a sweetness to her, an adorable-ness and the film finds moments to highlight that ability, which helps us to care about her more. She doesn’t portray the terror moments as well, but the tone and music in each scene makes up for it easily.

Overall an enjoyable thriller, with some unexpected turns and some genuine thrills.

2 thoughts on ““The Eye” (2008)”

  1. Good review! I’ve gotten mixed feedback on this movie so I’m not sure what to expect. Guess I’ll just have to give it a shot!

  2. I agree with nwertanen99, this was a great movie, not the scariest but pretty good. It is true that Alba has gotten most of her roles based on her looks and it was refreshing to see her in a movie like this! Hope she gets more practice at them.

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