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What you see is sometimes what you get,
This review is from: The Eye [DVD] (DVD)
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.