Saturday, 26 September 2020
The Eye
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Wednesday, 06 February 2008 13:32

ThumbnailIt seems fitting that a movie called The Eye would have everything it needs in terms of visuals and very little to offer when it comes to substance. The films star Jessica Alba is a perfect example of this matter over mind mentality.

Now before I am attacked by all the 20-something Maxim Magazine aficionados defending the rights of large-breasted fledgling actresses everywhere, allow me to explain. Certainly no one is arguing the fact that Alba is a beauty, she’s great at looking great. But she’s terrible at looking scared or shocked or sad, or at displaying any emotion on camera at all really. Which makes it hard for the audience to feel any of those emotions for her and leaves this film as cold and lifeless as the corpses on screen.

In The Eye Alba plays a young violinist named Sydney Wells. A childhood accident has left her blind but new medical technology can change all of that. At the urging of her neurotic sister (Parker Posey) Sydney gets a corneal transplant that will allow her to regain her vision but she gets much more than she bargained for. Visions of hovering corpses in the elevator, an annoying little boy that haunts her hallway, and melting apartment walls are driving her nuts, but according to her jerky therapist (Alessandro Nivola) all of this is just a figment of Sydney’s confused brain. He is supposed to be helping treat her disorientation but I thought his technique was questionable (and laughable). Every time they meet Sydney is forced to yip at his heels through high traffic streets and noisy lobbies just to talk to him. He treats her like a brainless Barbie doll but for some reason she keeps coming back for more, hoping to convince him that she isn’t crazy. And then there’s the sexual tension or lack thereof.Thumbnail

Let’s take a leap of faith here and imagine that she must feel pretty scared and alone – at least Alba doesn’t need to work too hard to convince us of that. She just has to go on a ridiculous tirade breaking all the light bulbs in her apartment when she could just flip a switch and turn them off. She wants nothing more than to be blind again and stop seeing these terrible things. Much of the movie is wasted on her whining and complaining and when we finally get to the story and start to find out why she is seeing these terrible things we are already in the home stretch. A quick little road trip to Mexico, a big Hollywood explosion and the movie is over. Wham, bam, thank you ocular receptacles.

Perhaps I was a little biased while watching The Eye, since I had seen the original Hong Kong film Jian Gui a few years ago. It was creepy and unsettling, something that Asian horror movie excel at and Hollywood is rarely able to emulate. As I watched the remake I couldn’t help but remember the same scenes and how effective they were in the original. The level of tension just doesn’t reach the same peek, although I have to say both films had the same rather disappointing climax.

Overall, The Eye wasn’t terrible and it wasn’t great. It just kind of was. And when a movie exists already, and the remake isn’t very different or any better it just leaves me to ask the question “Why bother?” If only the supernatural realm could answer that! I give The Eye 4 out of 10 stars.