Movie Review: The Eye – 2002 – directed by the Pang Brothers (Oxide & Danny)

Posted: February 10, 2013 in Asian Horror
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Directed when the Asian Horror market was becoming highly popular in the West after the local releases of ‘The Ring’ and ‘The Ring 2’, ‘The Eye’ became an instant hit with its interesting take on the idea of seeing ghosts. (and has since spawned 2 sequels and a remake)

The story is about Mun who after having a cornea implant to make her see again for the first time since she was 2, begins seeing visions of spirits and a shadowy figure lurking just beyond reach. She then goes in search of the person whose eyes she was given.

Before seeing the film I expected another film much like ‘ The Sixth Sense’ with the whole ‘I see dead people’ vibe. How wrong I was. This feels like a fresh take on that idea as although the audience know who may or not be a ghost, Mun is still adjusting to seeing again so cannot rely on what she sees. It’s a clever way of adding suspense and tension to a film that you feel like you’ve seen before.

What i think is really clever about the film is it isn’t really a horror film. It has some moments that shock and are creepy but I’d not call it a horror film. I’d say it falls in with a lot of foreign horror in the fact that it has that style you just don’t get in the west. (not just visual, but tonally as well.) Much of the film is a beautiful observation of someone trying to cope with seeing for essentially the first time and the mental anguish that goes along with it.

It is beautifully shot and beautifully paced. The Pang brothers have an eye for visuals as can be seen in their previous film (Bangkok Dangerous) and It is great that they try to use practical effects over CGI whenever they can. I must say that the opening of the film did make me freak out a little just in case i had epilepsy (I don’t), but a random flashing was not good on my panic threshold.

There is a sequence around the middle of the film where Mun essentially becomes a recluse again. the scene is told through multiple shots while Mun is playing her violin. The song is beautiful as is the sequence and the pacing. (the song is featured throughout the film as a running piece of score). THis scene sums up the film for me in tone and feel. Although quite dark in places I found that on the whole it was a beautiful analogy for love and the beauty that we (who see the world everyday) just don’t respect and notice.

The acting performances are brilliant with Angelica Lee claiming every scene as her own as the main character Mun. The supporting cast are just as good with a great performance from newcomer Yut Lai So as Ying Ying (a little girl whom Mun befriends).

The film builds to a large-scale set piece which is amazingly well filmed and is a fit almost ending to the film. For those that like films such as ‘The ring’, ‘The Orphanage’, ‘The sixth Sense’ and films that offer more than simple scares, this really is worth a view. It’s a great piece of asian cinema that will stay with you long after you’ve seen it. 8/10


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