Oh god. Yet another Hollywood remake of an Asian horror film. By now, you should know the drill with these films. An Asian horror movie is released and has some degree of success with western audiences. Some studio buys the rights to the film. They cast some pretty girl to play the lead, water the horror down for American audiences, add some silly CGI sequences for the wow factor, and release the film without much fanfare. And so this applies to the remake of The Eye.
Blind violinist, Sydney Wells goes in for an operation to replace the corneas in her eyes, hopefully allowing her to see once again. She lost her eyesight as a child, and has become used to using her other senses to get her about in the world. Her new eyes are a success, but they bring with them a strange side-effect... she can see dead people. And so, while to her friends and doctor, she seems somewhat of a loon, Sydney sets off to find out where her eyes came from and solve the mystery as to why she’s seeing scary stuff.
There are two main problems with this film. And both problems are pretty detrimental to the overall film. The first problem is the script. While I haven’t seen the original South Korean film, I can imagine it was a lot more effective than this US remake. However, this film feels like it’s a watered down version of another more scary film. And there are few to no scares here. Most of the scares come from jump scares. Things jumping out from nowhere to get a cheap scare. The story itself is pretty dull. The ending isn’t groundbreaking or surprising in any manner, and Sydney’s quest just seems uninteresting.
The other major problem is Jessica Alba. So far, Alba’s been known for her roles in comic book movies such as Sin City and the Fantastic Four movies. In The Eye, she seems to be attempting to break from that mould and do something different. Develop as an actress. And for that, she deserves some credit. However, it’s a shame that she falls flat on her face due to her innate lack of talent as an actress. At moments, Alba does try to emote, showing attempts at anger and desperation. But she’s just completely useless at it and fails miserably. Apparently Alba trained for six months to learn the violin for the role. Yet in the scenes where she is playing, her finger movements bear no relation what so ever to the music playing, and she ends up looking like she’s just poking randomly at the violin. It’s all part of ruining the illusion that she’s actually playing a character. One thing is for sure. When her looks fade, so will Jessica Alba’s career. She’s a terrible actress and this film does her no favours in dispelling that fact.
The rest of the cast, including Alessandro Nivola and Parker Posey just look like they’re going through the motions. The paycheques for this movie must have been fairly hefty and both these actors, who are usually very good, seem to be phoning in their performances. Perhaps they were hired to make Alba look better as an actress, but then the script is so dull, it gives them nothing really to do. The direction, by David Moreau and Xavier Palud drifts somewhere between dull and clichéd. They rely on the hammy use of loud noises and things jumping out of shadows for scares. And then there’s the ‘monsters’ which consist of badly CGI’d grey blobs which occasionally growl at the camera and scare about as much as Alba can act.
I really hope the trend for remaking Asian horror movies ends soon. It wont, but we can hope. This is yet another in a long line of dull horror movies that are nothing more than a waste of money and talent. And no, I’m not referring to the lead actress there. Do what I should have done. Go get your hands on the original film.