Friday, July 24, 2009

Eye Spy

Time for another horror franchise review. Yay! This time, I went a little further than normal, to check out the Hong Kong horror series The Eye. We have 3 movies, plus an American remake.

The Eye: So, first in the series. In this, we have a woman who was blinded at age two (never are told how it happens, not that it matters). She has eye surgery to replace her corneas with those of a donor, allowing her to see again. This, unfortunately, allows her to see the spirits of the dead. It also lets her see the shadows that guide dead souls on to whatever final resting place they happen to have. At first, she is freaked out, but eventually is able to come to terms with it by finding out where her new eyes came from. The idea itself is nothing new. There are a lot of horror movies and stories with the premise of replacement limbs carrying on the lives of their original owner. What made this so good is that there was a lot of creepy to it, and a good reason for the eyes doing what they do. Very little gore or violence until the end of the movie. Just some healthy unsettling imagery at times. The movie is so wonderfully shot, with amazing close ups to show how the woman is seeing things for the first time. Really, quite enjoyable. Except for how it all ends, which was a little unsatisfying. Also, I had a slight gripe about not resolving the little boy with his report card thing (which you will have to watch the movie to understand). Could have used some better closure on that.

The Eye 2: Holy crap, I almost vomited within the first 15 minutes of this thing. Not from excessive gore or anything like that. From watching the main character get her stomach pumped. The sounds she made were nauseating. So, that aside, what have we got here? Woman who has just had a bad break up with her boyfriend. She tries to commit suicide. Obviously she only nearly succeeds and lives. Now she can see dead people. She gets freaked out a few times, finds out what is going on with the one woman's ghost that keeps following her, and the movie is resolved. Throughout this, there is the pregnancy of the woman to deal with as well. Pretty much nothing scary with this. A few shocks with dead people, yeah. But not really horror. There's also some strange Buddhist teachings to tie it all together. There is actually no connection between this movie and the first, other than the seeing dead people angle and the same directors. Fun, but not what I was looking for.

The Eye 3 (aka The Eye 10 or The Eye Infinity): So, we get some monks who are meditating or praying around a woman who seems to be possessed. She floats, licks them all at range, and then the movie shows the actual characters. Bunch of friends who decide to use this book to see ghosts. There are 10 ways, two of which are the plots to the other movies in the series. The rest get used throughout the movie. A couple make sense, a couple are too complex to work for me, and a couple are too silly. Mostly, the movie is ok. Some decent visuals and all that. Not really scary. More funny, in fact. Proof of this: Ghost Possessed Dance Battle. Want more proof? When out of breath (which scares ghost) just fart, that will knock a ghost out. The ending was ok, though.

The Eye (American Remake): What we have here is an 85-90% remake. Many of the scenes are lifted pretty straight from the original. The difference here is that they lack all subtlety and emotion. Where the original will hint at things being wrong, this version will throw it in your face with fire and jump cuts. Hell, they give away a couple of the surprises early on with the way they shoot a couple scenes, and the way the beginning shows part of the climax. Speaking of climaxes, the big scene that was so shocking and held most of the gore and violence of the original was completely rewritten. In fact, it is changed to have the exact opposite effect on the story and the viewer. I saw what was happening almost immediately this time, and was yelling "bullshit" at the tv the entire time (and for a good 5 minutes after the movie ended). Where the Ring or Funny Games were good remakes, this was kind of meh.

So, overall, these movies fail to really work for me. The original was good. Lots of fun. Then you get the not-so-scary sequel, the funny-not-scary three-quel, and the poorly done remake. So, overall, meh. Not bad movies, just nothing as classic or good at other franchises.