Review by Jack Foley
A 2002 horror film directed by Chinese filmmakers Danny and Oxide Pang is the focus of yet another Hollywood remake that’s ultimately undone by its own, well, short sightedness.
Jessica Alba stars as blind concert violinist Sydney Wells, who undergoes a corneal transplant at the request of her sister (Parker Posey) and promptly starts to experience terrifying visions of a supernatural variety.
Struggling to convince even her strangely unsympathetic doctor (Alessandro Nivola), Sydney resolves to make sense of them and unlock the secrets to an extremely tragic past.
On the surface – and certainly in original form – The Eye works from a neat premise and plays well on people’s inherent fear of blindness. Co-directors David Moreau and Xavier Palud (of Them fame) also employ some suitably disturbing imagery early on.
But by sticking so closely to formula, the film quickly runs out of steam and struggles to escape that painful feeling of over-familiarity. The jumps become repetitive and increasingly signposted, while they’re more about camera trickery than anything truly unsettling. A touchy feely conclusion also undermines its ability to play on your mind afterwards in the way that the best horrors do.
That said, Alba arguably turns in a career-best performance as Sydney and it’s easy to admire the commitment she put into building her character, training for months to play the violin and studying what it’s like to live with blindness. But while she shows encouraging signs for the future, she’s let down by the lazy screenplay that too often reduces her to clichés, whilst providing supporting cast members Alessandro Nivola and Parker Posey with precious little to do.
The end result is the type of film that might appeal to diehard Alba fans not accustomed to seeing the actress in such roles, but which offers nothing new or worthwhile for hardened horror pupils.
Running time: 96mins
UK DVD Release: September 8, 2008