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Overall Rating

Awesome: 18.6%
Worth A Look56.98%
Average: 18.6%
Pretty Bad: 4.65%
Total Crap: 1.16%

7 reviews, 44 user ratings

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Eye, The
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by Scott Weinberg

"Sometimes...blind is better."
4 stars

Asian horror flicks are generally celebrated as original concepts that eventually get keel-hauled into American mainstream by way of sloppy dub jobs or straight American remakes. The Pang Brothers film The Eye flips this tradition around by taking clear inspiration from popular American thrillers like The Sixth Sense and Blink while still retaining enough originality to capably stand on its own. Plus it's pretty damn creepy.

The idea of a blind person surgically regaining the use of their eyesight only to witness a series of decidedly unpleasant visions may not sound like a stunningly original concept (and let's face it; it's not) but the technically proficient Pang Brothers manage to make the conceit just new enough to allow The Eye to transcend its relatively familiar inspirations and deliver a moody and atmospheric thriller that should certainly unsettle audiences on both sides of the Pacific.

Mun (Lee Sin-je) is a sweet young woman who's been blind since the age of two. With the help of Hong Kong's finest surgeons (and the ongoing support of her sister and grandmother), Mun slowly begins to enjoy the gift of sight thanks to an elaborate cornea transplant. Though the patient takes some time to acclimate to her newfound vision, Mun quickly begins to suspect that her donated corneas have come with a particularly nasty side effect: she sees 'shadows'.

That these shadows mainly appear when some unfortunate soul has recently passed away fills the gal with a justifiably unpleasant sense of dread - and that Mun finds herself dealing with these visions on her own (amid much skepticism from her family and doctors) fills the beleaguered woman with a sense of bleak desperation.

But Mun's visions are not limited to gauzy shadow-folk; she often catches glimpses of 'people' that only she can see - an affliction that leads to terror on Mun's part...and a handful of creepy thrills for the viewer.

That much of the narrative reminds one of a half-dozen other thrillers doesn't prevent The Eye from staking some new ground of its own. Sure, there are a few components of The Eye that may not translate well to a North American audience (the musical score wavers between throbbingly intense and ticklishly treacly; Act II sags almost noticably in several spots) but fans of crackerjack 'beyond the grave' thrillers and Japanese flicks in general should find much to enjoy.

Though the jolts come in relatively small doses, The Eye does offer three or four sequences that should have moviegoers squirming delightedly in their seats and the pulse-pounding finalé (while a tiny bit predictable) should absolutely leave viewers leaving the theater with a nervous spring in their step.

Given that the current state of American Horror is usually so watered-down and generic, even a 'pretty good' horror import is reason to rejoice. It's not likely that The Eye will spur the sort of frenzy that 'Ring' did a few years back - but a ghost story doesn't have to be revolutionary to deserve an audience. As it stands, The Eye is considerably more entertaining than what generally passes for 'scary' these days and should find itself a pleasantly enthusiastic audience.

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originally posted: 03/13/03 07:44:46
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2003 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Seattle Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 San Francisco Film Festival. For more in the 2003 San Francisco Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Santa Monica Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Santa Monica Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

12/29/17 morris campbell not fresh but still scary worth a look 4 stars
10/27/09 bored mom Cellular memory? More like Legend of the Cursed Eyeballs. 3 stars
10/24/09 SouthWind45 Legacy and, worse, insists suggest that Brazilian professionals are solely responsible for 2 stars
10/23/09 Gangster38 The schools I went to were out of control. , 5 stars
5/29/07 Bitchflaps Doesn't bring anything new to the genre, but there are some effective moments. 3 stars
11/01/06 William Goss Familiar, yet still solid. 4 stars
10/02/05 ravinder singh i like this movei 5 stars
9/02/05 Indrid Cold A couple perfectly done scenes, but doesn't even come close to sustaining it. 3 stars
8/11/05 Maegs Creepy! Elevator man still scares the crap out of me. 4 stars
7/25/05 Eric Rollins Japanese Val Lewton makes visual gem out coal (story). 4 stars
7/20/05 Sir Dude Very good. Hurry and see it before Hollywood ruins a great movie... Again! 5 stars
6/23/05 M a bit silly, but skin crawling. beautifully shot. 4 stars
6/11/05 whatevr as creepy as the sixth sense 5 stars
6/09/05 The Grinch Don't believe the hype. The lamest of all overrated asian "horror". Watch Odishan instead 2 stars
6/05/05 Charlene Javier Great production values! 4 stars
5/07/05 K. Sear Nothing new but beautifully executed. 4 stars
1/13/05 SAKURAZUKAMORI Very effective, creepy movie. 5 stars
1/01/05 Raven Great drama with some horror elements. Ju-on sucked, watch this instead. It has a plot. 4 stars
10/19/04 Samantha It's a great film, I love the way it was done! 5 stars
5/29/04 Cameron Slick Thought concerned and eerie 4 stars
5/18/04 taintedlunch Creepy! Look out for elevator scene. Derivative and predictable at times, but good movie. 5 stars
5/15/04 shannon saliard excelltnt film it had me on the edge of my seat from first shot to last. 5 stars
4/26/04 Lord Jiggy Well done, owes Sixth Sense a lot, but doesn't ultimately pay off. 3 stars
4/18/04 JERRY ahh cuz i wet meself! 5 stars
2/08/04 matt mathias's all in the sound...turn it up loud!! 5 stars
1/21/04 Mayet quite better than inner senses... but nothing beats ring 4 stars
11/08/03 Agent Sands (previously Mr. Hat) Predictable at some points, but it's pretty scary. My 1st Pang Bros. outing. 4 stars
10/29/03 othree feltfull understated ghost story w/o the hollywood racket 4 stars
10/25/03 Mickey With A C This is an EXCELLENT movie 5 stars
10/05/03 john holdsworth top film better than usual U.S. crap 5 stars
9/14/03 the Grinch Don't believe the hype. Weak, cliched movie. Watch Audition instead... 2 stars
7/01/03 Kyle Worth checking out. 4 stars
6/24/03 Eastwood Honestly, I've never been genuinely scared like that. Leveled off nicely at the end. 4 stars
6/10/03 hugh frightening 5 stars
6/06/03 chris Plays it safe, but some scenes make the overall film worthwhile 4 stars
5/31/03 Meyeson I've had this on DVD for about 8 months, this is not "SCREAM" style horror it's "SUSPIRIA 4 stars
5/23/03 Jonathan Not Evil, but Bizzare-scary. A good story and cast but a little predictable at times. 4 stars
5/19/03 Loyd This movie has been copied from a book. I read the book 3 years ago. 1 stars
5/16/03 joe biedron very scary stuff 4 stars
3/20/03 Andy Bronson a great follow up to bangkok dangerous 5 stars
3/18/03 Ace-of-Stars Outstanding movie; very creepy -- right up there with Nakata's "RING" (orig. Japanese ver.) 5 stars
3/13/03 Jon Saw the east coast version 6 months ago, great with a very cool ending 4 stars
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  06-Jun-2003 (R)
  DVD: 21-Oct-2003


  03-Jun-2004 (MA)

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