Gin gwai (The Eye) Reviews
The film has the perfect amount of eerieness without making it a typical "scary movie"
Starring: Angelica Lee, Lawrence Chou, Chutcha Rujinanon.
In a world where hollywood films are pretty much the standard, that is all that the average person will ever see, when it comes to the 'horror' films they create, people have gotten used to the way they make them and think that by just having cheap jump scares and loud noises, that it is successful, when actually it is talentless and cheap....we can only rely on other countries to provide us something right and with The Eye, we have it.
And I still cannot believe people have not found this film yet, it has been a favourite of mine for many years now and certainly still remains in my top 10 best horror films of all time. The story follows a young blind violinist who has been blind since she was 2 years old, she has grown up with only the sense of touch to guide her through life. One day she is optioned to receive a very experimental operation: A cornea transplant, so that she will be able to see again....but she starts to see more than she thought. The story alone is compelling, the main operation is actually that based on a true story and The Pang Brothers have taken that and made it into one hell of a compelling film. What helps to make this film work under the surface is that sense of mystery, we alone cannot imagine what it would be like for someone blinded there whole life to be given sight so suddenly and to include images that we might see as strange but to a blind person they cannot understand or fully comprehend anything they see. If a film with such an interesting story was given to some cheap hollywood 'for hire' director, it would most certainly be ruined....but with The Pang Brothers behind the camera, they understand the material so well (being that they wrote it) and know how to play off its strengths. They never rely on sudden noises or cheap scares, they use there cameras with such skill and inject pure tension that is slow and spine chilling....and with stylish imagery (and experimental editing by them as well) that blends into the story so well and adds another layer of atmosphere to the film, it is truly scary in many key scenes (the elevator scene is infamous). The score is actually quite quirky a lot of the time, sounding very playful in that strange Japanese way, but when it is required, its slow building and chilling. And in one hell of a rare occasion (over 20 years in fact), we have an amazingly strong lead in a horror film. Angelica Lee is very convincing, appearing truly scared by what her character sees and it helps us to feel even more scared....this is something that every 'modern horror' leading lady fails in.
Not only does it succeed in creating some truly and genuinely scary scenes, it also works well at being a very compelling thriller and mystery. When I think of the Pang Brothers, I think 'horror'....and now that America is doing what it does best by being unoriginal and remaking this film, you must see this.
Now here is a foreign horror movie that I saw out of both curiosity and boredom. "The Eye" is the kind of movie that I would not have gone out of my way to see; and even though I did see it in the end, I still saw it when I literally had nothing else to do. I can be bored and content at the same time; and that's how I felt when I decided that I wanted to watch this film. So I prepared to watch it with the kind of decent expectations that professional film reviews tend to give you, as well as my own personal demands (which are almost never met due to the hacked-up quality of most horror movies these days). To my surprise, "The Eye" starts out pretty decently and sticks to that essential decency throughout. There are a couple little precious moments where it's better than it tends to be most of the time, but all-in-all; it's not quite as good (or bad) as it probably should be. I admit that this is another decent film made on a totally radical concept, but decency just isn't enough to entertain me; at least not thoroughly. But to deny that "The Eye" isn't at least SOMEWHAT entertaining would be some kind of a sin; and I am not a sinner in the slightest. So I conclude that I did not QUITE like "The Eye", which is too bad. But I do appreciate it; and I do think that some will enjoy it. The film's one good aspect is making damn fine use of visual technology such as CGI. The filmmakers never create anything that's as scary as they probably want it to be, but nothing ever looks genuinely revolting. And that's good, seeing how many horror films that are out there just don't give a damn (or half a damn) about the visual experience that is film. So if you like horror, then save this one for a rainy day. I'm passionate about the genre to say the least, and this just isn't scary or entertaining enough for me to call it good. But it is well-made; you just shouldn't be rushing out to get it and hopefully watch it. But if you do, then it's a mediocre watch; as long as you can get by some truly tedious stuff. It's not quite the movie that it makes itself out to be. It truly is a disappointment, but luckily, only a minor one.
A Chinese woman gets an eye cornea transplant. She enjoys her knew gift of eye-sight for quite some time, but then she starts to have visions. These visions are those which intend to foreshadow tragedies and deaths. The woman expresses this concept to her psychologist, who fails to take the thing seriously at first; but becomes affectionate of his patient and decides to help her by all means necessary. If you were wondering, the character is named Mun; and her psychologist is Dr. Wah. I've essentially given away a good portion of the plot already (and without spoiling too much!), so I'll leave the rest up to you to discover. If you feel that "The Eye" is worth your time, then maybe you should just watch the thing. That's far from a recommendation, but I'm just trying to state that this movie isn't all bad. It's just half bad; and it's hard to look at the better half over the worse half for a lot of the time. That's the problem with this movie. But it's not the only one. I also had a problem with the film's characters. None of them had true personalities; they were just people thrown into a situation. I believe that a good horror film can make up for its lack of truly interesting characters with atmosphere, but "The Eye" doesn't even have enough of that to suffice. It's undeniably entertaining, but never as so as it may want to be. After all; visuals that are at least "good" can only entertain me for so long. Here, they run their course until they just simmer down into forgetfulness, much like the rest of this mediocrity-fest. But if you like the film, then do not be ashamed. Somewhere, there is a good horror movie hidden underneath "The Eye" and its troubled exterior. But the interior is as hollow as an aging tree, and the result is as tedious as it is mildly boring. This movie is too talky (and since none of the dialogue is interesting, you should know that this gets horridly bland) to be genuinely scary, and all the talk never leads up to anything exciting. There's no pay-off. I have just pointed out yet another problem with "The Eye". I bet that I can point on twice as more before this review is over.
Some films can be just OK, but well-acted. And some films can be just OK, with just OK acting. This is one of those movies; a competently acted film that has a semi-talented cast. Nothing is wasted, but nothing is shown. The actors never play involving characters, so that takes the fun-o-meter down a notch for sure. But the acting isn't bad; not in the slightest. Mun is played by Angelica Lee; who is as I said, a competent actor. She's in a decent role, but sometimes she's just plain corny. And something tells me that corniness was not the aim with this film.
The problem with a lot of horror movies is that they put style over substance. There were once days when directors such as Dario Argento could make solid films out of their visual skills, but nowadays things have gone way too over the top for my taste. On the bright side, "The Eye" isn't a gory horror movie. It makes good use out of convincing and often times creepy special effects. It also has good cinematography, so essentially the thing is best when it's exploiting its little visual gifts. There is such thing as a film which wants to be visually mind-blowing and only that. I can appreciate those films; and even love them. But "The Eye" wants be scary, and while it has some jumps, nothing should be mistaken for "scares". If you want scares, then see a different film. This movie is not scary. It isn't smart enough to be so. If it had pushed the envelope a bit further, as far as its premise goes, then maybe I would have liked it. As it is, the film is entertaining in a rather heartless way; with some laughable moments as well as some admittedly well-crafted ones. It's the mixture of the two that proves this film nigh completely unworthy of my true praise. It's a forgettable movie; and I just can't say that I enjoyed it. I don't recommend it; but I don't NOT recommend it either. So there you go.
"The Eye" is perhaps better than it should be. I like the premise of having an eye transplant and seeing things out of someone's demonically infected eyeballs, but I don't like how the directors of the film decided to execute the idea. Perhaps you should know that Alfred Hitchcock had planned a movie with a similar plot, and it would have been better. "The Eye" is not bad, per se, but it's not good either. It could have entertained me in a less forgettable way; but it's just so generic that I can't let go of its boring qualities. It looks pretty damn good, and that's about it. It isn't scary, and when it tries to be movie, it isn't that kind of movie either. I've seen horror and drama blended together nicely, but this is not one of those times where it works genuinely well. The stylistic elements of the film work, but nothing else really does. It's a pity, because I was ready to enjoy "The Eye". I didn't think it would try to scare me in such generic (but admittedly visually cool) ways. I can't be scared by mere noises. You have to add that classic feeling of horror to scare me. Plus, you have to draw me in early on. "The Eye" makes almost no attempt to do that. It's at fault in so many disappointingly familiar ways. And that's why I appreciate it, but don't particularly like it. "The Eye" is forgettable horror, and I've seen enough of that for one life-time. Haven't we all?
Nevertheless, three times I almost pooped my pants. Actually, after the second one I went and turned my light on. Seriously, that is extremely embarrassing to admit, but it freaked me out.
I had seen the remake before this, which was better as a whole but I didn't find it scary at all. This one was frickin' freaky though after the first 40 minutes it got gay and I got bored. And turned my light back off.