Directed by: David Moreau and Xavier Palud
Premise: A remake of a Hong Kong film. A blind woman (Jessica Alba) receives eye transplants and finds that the organs have passed on the donor’s ability to see ghosts and future events.
What Works: The film makes some interesting use of subjective camera work, at least in the first half of the film, and is able to use these techniques to suggest that the visions might be delusions. There are a sufficient number of jump scares in the film and The Eye has a M. Night Shyamalan-influenced ambiguity about the intentions of the ghosts that plays fairly well.
What Doesn’t: Although The Eye borrows some of the style of Shyamalan, it does not follow through in the storytelling. The Eye lets too much of the story hang, such as the subplot of a ghost who haunts the protagonist’s apartment building. Where The Sixth Sense used similar story elements and then allowed them to play out and give the main character opportunities for growth, The Eye abandons the possibilities and the opportunities for character growth and leaves these strands hanging. The story also stretches its credibility, even for the kind of film that it is, such as when the doctor (Alessandro Nivola) breaks all sorts of laws and ethical barriers by giving Alba’s character the name of her donor. In the end, the story reveals that the donor died of suicide in a poor Mexican town. How exactly her eyeballs were harvested and preserved for donation are left completely unexplained. Although The Eye does manage to avoid the wet, longhaired Asian girl as seen in The Ring, The Grudge, and Dark Water it still uses many of the tricks and trademarks of American remakes of Asian ghost stories from the last decade, although it is far less scary because it cannot maintain any atmosphere of dread.
Bottom Line: The Eye is a disappointment, a ghost story that is not very spooky and a horror film that does not allow for any penetration into or reconciliation with our fears.
Episode: #177 (February 3, 2008)