on 5 December 2002
I bought this film on the strength of a review I saw and my enjoyment of the 'Ring' series of films. I can honestly say it's one of the best chillers I've seen for many years, the inevitable comparisons to Sixth sense are unfair, this film is so much better.
The 'Ring' series work by a very slow build up of dread, leading up to a focal point at the end of the film, this can mean the start of the film is quite slow, 'The Eye' works in no such way.
You are extremely quickly drawn into the film and held fast, cowering behind your sofa until the films excellent climax.
This film will not make you jump, nor will this film scare you with graphic images like 'Audition'. This film works on fear, and its scary moments will bore themselves into your psyche and rob hours of sleep from you.
A true masterpiece that for my money, is absolutely flawless.
"Get out of my chair............ GET OUT OF MY CHAIR!!"
Don't dare blink as you may miss something.
Wong Kar Mun went blind at the age of two, 18 years later she undergoes a cornea transplant that appears to be a success. Unfortunately that success comes with a terrifying side-effect; the ability to see unhappy ghosts.......
Gin Gwai (The Eye) is directed by the Pang brothers Oxide and Danny and stars Angelica Lee (Mun) and Lawrence Chou (Dr.Wah) as the two main principals.
No matter what source of reference you use for film reviews, one thing that can be guaranteed as regards Gin Gwai is how divided people are on it. One of the few things that most tend to agree on tho is that it's visual flourishes are nothing short of fantastic. And they are. Blended with the editing, music, sound, camera-work and the effects, it therefore fuels the fire of those calling it style over substance. It's also fair to drop onside with those folk decrying its over familiarity with its central themes. If you have seen Irvin Kershner' The Eyes Of Laura Mars, Michael Apted's Blink and M. Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense, well you wont be watching anything new thematically here. But the Pang brothers have crafted a thoroughly engrossing, menacing and nerve gnawer of a film, one that delivers chills and scares for the discerning horror sub-genre fan.
Here's the crux of the matter with Gin Gwai, it is the opposite side of the Asian horror coin to the likes of the blood letting Audition. This is pure and simply for those not in need of murder death kill to fulfil their horror needs. I was creeped out immensely by this film because the ghost and supernatural side of horror is what really works for me, as long as it is done effectively. To which Gin Gwai most assuredly is. The various scenes shift from ethereal unease to hold your breath terror, from classrooms to lifts, to hospital wards, the brothers Pang, with beautiful technical expertise, held me over a precipice of dread. Even the opening credits are inventive and have the ability to send a cautionary shiver down ones spine. There's a barely formed, and pointless, romantic angle that marks it down a point, but as the blistering (literally) last quarter assaults the senses, so as the time for reflection arrives, Gin Gwai ends up being one of the this decades best horror pictures. To me at least. 9/10
Ghosts are perfect fodder for horror movies, but they are rarely depicted as chilling or creepy. Most ghost movies are filled with stingers, CGI, and are neutered by a PG-13 rating. The Eye, however, creeps up on you (pun intended) and will make the hairs on your arms stand on end.
A young girl, blind from the age of 2, is given a cornea transplant and slowly adjusts to being able to see again. But she sees beyond our world and is haunted by the spirits of the dead in her Hong Kong neighborhood. The movement, behavior, and appearances of the ghosts are just mesmerizing. THIS is how you do ghost movies. I also liked the shadow people, moving as blurs, guiding the recently dead into the afterlife. Twin writer/directors Danny and Oxide Pang have pulled off one of the best horror films in the past decade and have done it with more integrity than M. Night Shyamalan.
The Eye is not a slick, high-key film. It is shot in a rough, gritty texture that reminds me of late-80s horror such as Hellraiser and Paperhouse. It's a far more appropriate and engaging aesthetic than anything offered by Platinum Dunes or Dark Castle. There is a Hollywood remake, made in 2008 but I couldn't care less about it. The 2002 HK version is the way to go.
The DVD is in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby 5.1 sound. The only extra is a trailer. It's amazing that this film is not on Blu-ray yet.
For a blind person, it would seem like a dream come true to have their sight restored. But what if it came with a price? That is the idea behind the Pang Brothers' "The Eye" ("Jian gui"), one of the most minimalistic -- and chilling -- horror movies in years.
Wong Kar Mun (Angelica Lee) has been blind since she was two, but a cornea transplant restores her sight. At first she can only see blurry figures. But then, Mun sees shadowy phantoms leading away the spirits of the dead. Even worse, she sees the ghosts of suicides lingering on, doomed to repeat their deaths until they are put to rest.
Horrified by this, she goes to her psychotherapist Dr. Wah (Lawrence Chou) for help. Stretching professional ethics, the lovestruck doctor manages to get the records of the donor, and they go to see her family in a rural village. And guided by dreams and visions, Mun learns of the tragic life of a girl, Ling, who could foresee death...
If you like serial killers, buckets of blood and screaming blondes in your horror movies, don't watch "The Eye." As a horror movie, it will be too subtle, too quiet, and too full of intelligent questions about life and death.
There are only a couple of real "horror" moments in here, where things look grotesque. Most of the time, it's psychological in nature; at one point, we hear that suicides are doomed to repeat their deaths -- it's horrifying enough to contemplate someone killing themselves, but doing it over and over? Even worse, we see this in action.
And the Pang Bros. handle this wonderfully. Many of the ghosts appear and vanish quickly, giving a shock to the audience; at other times, they explore the changes that sight brings to Mun's life. But at the same time, the Bros. add a softer side to this movie, such as Ling's reconciliation with her mother. It's a credit to the Bros. that this is touching, not syrupy.
A lot of the impact of the film can be credited to Lee and Chou. Lee especially, for showing a range of emotions, including joy, grief, hysteria and peaceful acceptance. Boyishly handsome Chou balances out Mun in a very believable, by merely being a pillar of strength and believing her seemingly crazy stories. The only flaw is that he seems to fall for her too quickly.
The DVD also comes with a very insightful featurette, which sheds a lot of light on the film's background and production. The actors talk about their characters, the directors talk about creating gas explosions and ghosts. And we hear from the people whose stories inspired the ghosts in this film, such as the guy standing in the highway.
With good acting and a really chilling script, "The Eye" is one of the rarest kinds of horror -- the kind that horrifies the mind, rather than the stomach. Mesmerizing and really spooky.
on 9 September 2003
I am a big fan of asian films and this one definitely ranks in my top ten. The story revolves around a blind girl who undergoes a successful cornea operation. Whilst still in the hospital she encounters several disturbing incidents but because her vision is still blurred she doesn't realise what her experiences were. Once she discovers that the face stirring back at her is not her own, she sets off with the help of her doctor to find out who the cornea donor was. This films story is similar to The Sixth Sense. However the Pang Brothers effort is of far superior quality. This film is a must see and anyone who tells me that the scene with the old man in the elevator is not one of the truly scariest moments captured on film must need a cornea operation of their own. But if you do need the operation check out the donors background cos you never, ever know if you've got the EYE.
on 4 July 2005
'The Eye' is a fantastic piece of asian cinema. I watched this movie last week and it ranks as one of my favourite movies period. This film focuses on Mun, a woman who has been blind since the age of two, but has regained her sight due to a cornea transplant. However, her sight now reveals to her a terrifying world which only she experiences. It is now up to her to work out the mystery behind her new eye before it pushes her over the limit. This movie is so effective because it works on many levels. For the most part of this film, you will most likely be frightened and scared; this movie has an excellent atmosphre, and, without violence, manages to be incredibly unsettling and frightening. I won't go in to much detail about any particular frightening parts, becuase I feel this ruins the surprise and the overall scare factor of the scene. In between the scares however, is a strong, emotional storyline, which is full of heartbraking situations, again, I will not go into these as it would spoil the plot. But I must recommend this movie to all of you: it is intensely frightening, and heartbraking at times, and features great special effects. Buy it, 5 stars.
on 5 February 2004
First off, let me just say: I don't scare easily - to be honest, in all the 19 years of my life that I've watched films, I've only been scared by one film - The Exorcist. But even then, it was only the bit when the demon face showed up for about 4 frames. And when the Priest's recently deceased mother went back down into the subway, for some reason.
Anyway, that was when I was about 16. Then when I was 18, I saw 'The Ring' on TV, and Jesus Christ, it scared me so much. This got me hooked on Japanese films, and I bought the 3 "Ring" films (the japanese versions). But the more I watched it, the less scared I got.
Then two weeks after, I went shopping, and saw 'The Eye' DVD. It looked cool, so I bought it. I watched it later that night. And let me tell you, my dear readers: I haven't been the same since.
To this day, I still can't go anywhere in my house at night without the lights on. Plus, I've honestly developed a phobia of elevators (watch the film - you'll see what I'm talking about then).
For me, the most scary part was the "Why are you sitting in my chair?!?" scene - that was the only time ever in my life that I actually went "AH!". (except when I played "Resident Evil 2" - when the licker jumped through the one-way mirror).
I've honestly never felt the fear and dread build up in me like that. A close second was the elevator scene.
If you watch this, prepare to be so scared that your brain will jump out of your ears. It is seriously chilling. I get so scared every time I watch the movie. Every time.
I've probably hyped it up too much now!!! It is a beautiful movie though, definitely one of my favourite. You have to watch this, it is amazing, though the climax at the end ruined it for me. Personally, I think it could have done without.
If you cross "The Sixth Sense" with "At First Sight" with a japanese theme, you'll get a general idea of this movie. No-one makes scary movies like the japanese do.
on 9 March 2003
I enjoyed this film immensely because it actually managed to evoke that icy fear we have of the dead and the weary susperstitions about ghosts. Also the fact that this film was based on a true story makes it even more disturbing.
From the first and frankly the most chilling encounter Mun (Anjelica Lee) has with a ghost in a hospital, it becomes a compelling mystery to discover the true source of her "gift" and in the process enter a world of unsettling and imaginative terror.
The Eye doesn't altogether rely on shock techniques to scare you, though when it does it's definitely not for those of a nervous disposition. Instead it works away at your psyche and taints it with apprehension and unease and this is how the film succeeds as a horror. There is no blood or gore and the imagination woven with each ghostly meeting is first class. Just be careful the next time you eat a slice of char siu.....
on 24 January 2013
What a great and scary ghost story and it's quite emotional and smart as well.
With a very likeable lead lady (who regains sight after being blind and realises that she can see ghosts) and a heart-breaking performance by a dying little girl the lead character meets in the hospital this is the rare horror movie that had me frightened out of my wits and had me crying like a baby who had its favourite toy stolen.
This Korean movie is not as slow-moving and complex as many other Asian horror movies and is much closer to Hollywood horror movies in terms of pace and story, so dumb Americans can follow this one although the use of subtitles necessitated a US remake (which I refuse to acknowledge - I mean, c'mon, Jessica freakin' Alba as the lead?)
The scares in The Eye are REALLY scary and perfectly timed. The elevator scene had me making whimpering sounds and covering my eyes and I'm a hardened horror junkie. There's a jaw-dropping surreal scene in a deli which freaked me out more than David Lynch on acid.
And watch that train scene....watch closely....closely....
A great story that makes sense, great acting and shivery scares makes this a must-see for all serious horror fans. Together with A Tale of Two Sisters, Pulse (original), Ringu, Ju-On and Cure it's one of the best Asian shockers ever!
on 29 November 2005
Even though I tend to watch films like this, I must admit to being a bit a wimp when it comes to being scared out of my skin.
I did find this film was not the outright horror film that the packaging would indicate though. People looking for the maximum scare will not find their kicks here. The frights are more subtle, and leave the chill to slowly creep up your spine, rather than going for the jugular.
Although a ghost story, the film has a depth and intelligence to the story which means that it crosses into the genres of sci-fi, thriller and detective story.
The main character, Mun, is very well protrayed. The other characters are competent, but are really there to aid Mun through the journey of the story. The use of the transition of her eye-sight helps to develop the atmosphere and plot-line. Use of special-effects is subtle and effective.
The story-line is intriguing, develops well, with a good pace.
I did feel though that the end of the film went on a little too long, and the resolvment of the film could have been carried differently and tidier.
For english speakers there are only subtitles, but I do not mind this, and it did not detract from enjoying the film.
I can certainly recommend this film.