| Movie: The Eye|
Company: Lion's Gate
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
The Eye, an acclaimed Chinese horror film, is the latest in a string of big name US re-releases of Asian horror films. Much like another acclaimed Asian film, Japan's Ringu, The Eye is a very effective slow-paced, story-driven, eerie horror film that's slated for an American remake in the near future. The Eye tells the story of a girl in her late teens or early twenties who, after being blind since the age of two, receives some sort of transplant to revive her vision. Unfortunately, she gets more than she bargained for as she becomes witness to frightening visions and events that nobody around her is able to see or hear. Terrified, she sets out to find the source of her disturbing visions with the help of her post-operation visual/psychological therapist (who, of course, also becomes her love interest in the film).
Superbly unsettling and creepy at times, The Eye is one of the few films in recent memory that actually succeeded in putting me slightly on edge and even making me jump once or twice. This is especially impressive seeing as how the film is fairly slow-paced and the actual visual horror elements are used sparsely in favor of a more story-centered approach. The horror visuals that do appear range from slightly eerie to brilliantly creepy, often due to a combination of masterful direction by the Pang brothers, careful editing, and camera angles that do a great job of creating suspense and/or shock without losing the film's low-key, atmospheric vibe. The sound effects and music are also exceptionally remarkable when combined with the visuals. The film itself is generally a bit quiet, allowing for the music and/or sound effects to occasionally double in volume at key moments. It successfully avoids the trappings generally associated with similar gimmicks, allowing it to achieve great success in both creating suspense and startling the viewer.
While the visual and sonic horror elements are remarkably well used, they only make up a portion of the film. Unlike many modern horror films, this one's a vehicle for a great story that is just as eerie and unsettling as the film's straightforward horror moments. Also unlike most modern horror films, I was actually taken by surprise by a few of the movie's plot twists. Granted, it may borrow a few elements from films like The Sixth Sense and Ringu, but the film's plot and script were solid from start to finish and managed to carry the film nicely even during particularly slow-paced moments or lulls between the film's more horror-oriented bits.
Overall, The Eye is a slow-paced but undeniably effective, atmospheric, and captivating horror film. For those of you that liked Ringu or it's American remake, The Eye is a fairly comparable (sometimes even superior) film in terms of atmosphere and story content. If you can't bear to watch a movie with subtitles, you might want to wait for the upcoming American remake and hope it comes close to matching the quality of the original. Otherwise, I'd highly recommend checking out The Eye. It's one of the best horror films I've seen in a long time.
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