Sydney has been blind since a childhood accident. Since that time, her heightened senses have served her well and she is now a famed concert violinist. Her sister persuades her to receive a cornea transplant. The procedure works and she regains her vision. Now she can see dead people.
I couldn’t stop thinking about The Sixth Sense as I watched The Eye. At one point in the movie, Sydney’s doctor actually says “You see dead people?” and it made me laugh. It also made me realize how I had seen this story before, done better, and that crippled my enjoyment of this lackluster PG-13 horror movie tremendously.
The Eye is a remake of the Pang brother’s 2002 film of the same name. After a short confusing prologue, the movie begins when Sydney (Alba) is being taken in to get a cornea transplant by her sister (Posey). Following her transplant, she awakes to find she has regained her vision. She meets a young cancer patient, who tells her not to be afraid because the world is a beautiful place.
Unfortunately for Sydney, the world is not a beautiful place for her anymore. On the first night after her transplant, she wakes to see her hospital roommate being led out of the room by some kind of specter. When she follows them into the hallway they disappear. Soon, things start to fall apart and she starts to see a number of strange things, ranging from her room transforming into a strange place and a number of people who might not really be there.
She approaches her therapist (Nivola) and tells him about these visions, which he has trouble taking seriously. The doctor is placed into the movie as a romantic interest and plays off Sydney’s insecurities throughout. The biggest problem is the movie doesn’t know if it wants to be a ghost story or not. Sydney knows the visions are based on things seen by the former owner of the eyes.
These visions only seem to serve the purpose of the script. Sydney sees people who have just died, at the scene of their accident. She sees people who died in the past and she sees people who are going to die. She also sees the specters that lead the dead to the afterlife, referred to as shadowmen. How she is ever supposed to figure what is going on is beyond me. However, she convinces the doctor to risk his job and finds who the original donor was and sets out to find what happened to her.
This is where the original feature differs from this U.S. remake. The original movie does not have a happy ending and the U.S. version can’t even get that right, ending the movie with a big dumb action set piece. What makes the Pang brothers version so much better was their insistence on keeping it a horror movie instead of a big, dumb action flick. That last sequence where Sydney finally figures out what the visions are trying to tell her is the most exciting part of the movie, yet betrays the entire premise at heart.
The problem with these PG-13 remakes of Asian horror flicks is the fact they are trying to cater to widespread American moviegoers and the movies are neutered as a result. This movie is a plodding, slow-moving horror movie that has no real scares. The ghosts and the horrific moments are lame and might scare a teenage girl, but I don’t see how they would affect anyone else in any way. With so many great, smaller independent horror offerings, this big-budget attempt just fails on the grounds of its unoriginality and failure to capitalize on an interesting premise. If you can’t at least match the original offering, just leave the remakes alone.
There are a number of deleted scenes. None are interesting and all are insignificant to the plot.
Birth of the Shadowman (1:38) is a very short feature that discusses the creation of the shadowman, which was portrayed Brett A. Haworth and was shot entirely on green screen. Becoming Sydney (4:48) is another short feature and goes into detail Jessica Alba’s transformation into the character of a blind violinist. Shadow World: Seeing the Dead (8:32) is a feature that explains how the events in this movie could be a possible in real life. The Eye: An Explosive Finale (6:08) is a feature telling how they shot the climax of the movie. It’s pretty funny because they storyboarded using actual matchbox cars. The features on the first disc are rounded out with the trailer.
The second disc in this 2-Disc Special Edition is the digital copy. Boo!