I have to admit that when I first read the synopsis of the Pang Brother's Chinese supernatural thriller The Eye, visions of The Sixth Sense danced in my head. I mean, after all, you can only do so much with the whole "I See Dead People" formula. It's probably good that I had such low expectations for this one, seeing as how, in the end, it scared the fucking shit out of me.
Mun (Lee Sin-Je), a young woman blind since childhood, undergoes a cataract transplant that promises to give her back her vision. The operation is a success, but there is a small side effect: Mun can now see the roaming and restless spirits of the dead. Mun confides in her visual therapist Dr. How (Chou), who has taken more than a professional interest in her, and he reluctantly agrees to help her seek out the donor of her cataracts. The search takes them to a small village where the donor, a young girl who possessed the power that now plagues Mon, had taken her life after a fire ravaged the town, killing several people who wouldn't heed her warnings. Dr. How and Mon determine that the only way to rid Mon of these visions is to bring the girl's spirit to rest, once and for all.
The Eye is a film that basically plays off of the simple concept of an ordinary person suddenly confronted with extraordinary abilities, but does it to great effect thanks to the Pang Brothers relentless approach. The film has two modes: scary and terrifying. There were moments (and I hate to admit it) where I was watching the film through my fingers, as my hands were actually over my eyes!! It's just a creepy, creepy little movie and I loved every second of it. There's one scene in particular in which Mon enters an elevator and sees the reflection of a dead man standing in the corner. As the elevator makes it's slow ascension to the 15th floor, we see the dead man advance toward her, feet off the ground. Mon does her best not to look, keeping her eyes on the floor indicators above, and it's absolutely knuckle biting stuff. This is one of the very few modern horror films that has actually scared me, and it does so with nary a drop of blood.
I have to point out the film's young star, Lee Sin-Je (also known as Angelica Lee) simply because I became quite smitten with her watching this flick. She looks a bit like an Asian version of Audrey Tautou (Amelie) and has a similar charm. She's also quite a good actress, but, man...she's hot.
Okay, sorry. Lemme wipe away that drool from your monitor screen for ya!
Lion's Gate presents the film in a 16x9 anamorphic transfer, with a brief making of featurette and the film's trailer serving as the sole extras. It's not a great haul by any means, but consistent with the wave of Asian horror imports we've seen of late.
Regardless of whether or not the DVD contains anything substantial by way of supplemental materials, The Eye is a horror film that just has to be seen to be believed. It's extremely effective stuff that resonates long after it's over, and is not only one of the best Asian horror flicks I've seen- it's one of the best horror flicks period.