The Eye (2008)


Rating 1½

Directed by David Moreau and Xavier Palud

Written by Sebatian Gutierrez, based on an original screenplay by Oside Pang Chun, Danny Pang and Jo Jo Yuet-chun Hui

Starring Jessica Alba, Alessandro Nivola, Parker Posey, Rade Serbedzija, Fernanda Romero, Rachel Ticotin and Chloë Grace Moretz

Blind classical violinist Sydney Wells (Jessica Alba) has a cornea transplant and regains her sight. When she begins to see disturbing images and suffer from terrifying hallucinations, she persuades her initially disbelieving therapist Paul Faulkner (Alessandro Nivola) to help her to find the truth behind her visions.


This is a 2008 American remake of the acclaimed 2002 Pang Brothers film ‘Gin gwai’. It adheres closely to the plot of that film, but it is almost tempting to surmise that the screenwriter and directors have deliberately sucked the meaning and purpose out of each and every scene. Particularly galling is the horribly tweaked climax to the film.

Jessica Alba is an actress I don’t find especially interesting on screen, although I have no strong opinions one way or the other. I had previously seen her in a handful of episodes of ‘Dark Angel’, a television series I never took to, and in the ‘Fantastic Four’ films. I liked the first one, although I wasn’t particularly struck by her performance. Here, she is okay, but her acting feels flat and rather detached to me, not that the uninspired quality of the film helps very much.

Remakes are often a problem, especially when compared to an obviously superior original. ‘Pulse’ is another recent example of a fairly dire American remake. Having said that, not all remakes are worthless. ‘The Ring’ worked well and, contrary to most of the reviews, I thought so too did ‘The Grudge’, which was directed by the original Japanese director. John Carpenter’s original 1980 version of ‘The Fog’ is my favourite horror film, but I enjoyed the 2005 remake, even if I don’t make any claims for it. The problem with ‘The Eye’ is that it singularly fails to reproduce the aura of sadness and melancholia and hope and fear and alienation and dread and resignation that made the original such an interesting story. In its place it gives us nothing.

‘The Eye’ has a 22% rotten rating at Rotten Tomatoes from 74 reviews. It grossed just under $57 million at the box office against a production budget claimed to have been in the region of $12 million.

Review posted 13 February 2009


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