Quest For The Scariest Films: The Eye

Marv D'Souza
The Eye (2008)

We’re back with our Quest for the Scariest Movies series. This one involves a Hollywood hottie (and a few regular spooks.) I watched it by myself with the lights turned off, and the sound on maximum volume. I was spooked in the first 10 minutes but I suppose we all have our own threshold when it comes to scary movies.

The Eye (2008)

Directors: David Moreau, Xavier Palud
Writers: Sebastian Gutierrez, Yuet-Jan Hui (Original Version)
Stars: Jessica Alba, Alessandro Nivola and Parker Posey

A woman receives an eye transplant that allows her to see into the supernatural world. Remake of the Hong Kong film Jian Gui.

Jessica Alba as Sydney Wells
Alessandro Nivola as Dr. Paul Faulkner
Parker Posey as Helen Wells

Like most English language remakes of Eastern horror films, a lot of the treatment has been bastardized to achieve global commercial consumption. Yet the main pulp of the storyline remains more or less intact. Jessica Alba plays Sydney Wells who becomes blind after an incident in her childhood. The story picks up after she undergoes eye-transplant surgery, and she is finally able to see the world for the first time in years. But she starts to see troublesome things that she alone can see. The film is a journey to find the origin of her visions (the supernatural kind). And the relationship with her doctor played by Alessandro Novola and her sister (Parker Posey),  is an attempt to add depth to the story.

The film is filled with some clichéd questioning of Wells’ mental state after her surgery and a back-story of a tormented deceased girl who saw similar ‘visions’. Though there are some spooks stored adequately through the film, the tone and subtly of the film is compromised with respect to the original version that is lined with a stronger dose of dead silences, subtle ghost shadows and eerie sounds.

The Shakes:

‘Boo’ scene from THE EYE
‘Boo’ scene from THE EYE
‘Boo’ scene from THE EYE

As I mentioned earlier, the first ten minutes were spooky as they try to set the mood. When it comes to the sound and light set-up, the film does manage to create that cold, tense moment when needed (leaving aside a few unwanted shrieks). Even the moments of haunting are depicted in context of Wells’ line of vision, which is a bit blurry, thus adding to the uneasy yet scary experience.

My favourite moment in the film involves a particular scene in the corridor where the first proper haunting takes place leaving Wells, scared and confused. The encounter in the elevator is what drew me to the film, though the one shown in the original is far spookier than this one.

The Flipside:

The Eye (2008)
The Eye (2008)

The biggest issue I had in the film was the casting of Jessica Alba as a blind girl; her known physical sex appeal is quite distracting and makes it hard to sympathize with her character’s short-comings and issues. Besides, the relationship with the doctor get pushed into fast gear without a warning. Even the intensity of spooks drops as the film progresses into a serious story-line.

As you go on, you might find yourself asking a lot of questions like: “why did that happen and how is that related?” but then that’s what happens when you turn an foreign language film’s Hollywood remake.

The Verdict

Jessica Alba in The Eye

The Eye definitely has its chilling moments, but is it ‘that’ scary? I returned to normal the moment the film ended. This is not a good thing if a film is supposed to be really scary. But if you like watching scary films, this is could help you kill time.

Do: turn the lights off and switch the sound on maximum, it helps.

Don’t: get your hopes up too high… (And though it’s difficult, try to ignore Alba’s gorgeousness/)

Stay tuned for more on the Quest For The Scariest Films.

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