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The Eye


The Eye

Director: Xavier Palud
Runtime: 97 minutes
Cast: Brett A. Haworth

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If scary scenes alone made a great horror movie, The Eye would be tough to beat as this year's best. Starting with the aggressively disconcerting opening credits, twin Thai directors Oxide and Danny Pang (Bangkok Dangerous) display an ability to unsettle that's undone only by their inability to stitch together a consistent, coherent film. Even so, they get a lot of mileage out of an Outer Limits-like premise that still lets them offer one scare after another. Blind from birth, Lee Sin-Je receives a corneal transplant and almost immediately begins to see. In fact, she starts to see things that others can't: disconsolate suicides, spirits of the recently dead, ghosts of the past. In short, she sees dead people, and The Eye seems as unconcerned with borrowing from The Sixth Sense as it does with how deeply it terrifies its audience. Using carefully manipulated sound design, subtly disturbing makeup, and the limitations of Lee's visual abilities, the Pangs offer one frightening setpiece after another, including a particularly memorable elevator ride. It's almost enough to excuse their slackness in other departments. The Eye is brilliant whenever there's boogums about, less so when addressing Lee's disappointment at losing her spot in the sight-impaired orchestra, or highlighting her relationship with a pint-sized cancer patient. The short, sustained bursts of horror lose their effectiveness, and even grow tiresome, as the film nears a finale that has the distinction of being the first to rip off The Mothman Prophecies, but for a while, it's a dark, insubstantial treat. The in-the-works American remake should have little difficulty patching up the problems with plot and pacing, but will likely have a tough time equaling The Eye's frightfulness.