Writ. The Pang Brothers, Jo Jo Yuet-chun Hui
Dir. The Pang Brothers
Str. Angelica Lee, Lawrence Chou, Chutcha Rujinanon
Opens June 13th
World Is Way Less Scary When You Don't Have To Look At It
Over the last few years, horror films have been going through
an interesting evolution. First there was the suspense of
Hitchcock and the kitsch of Vincent Price, way back in the
times of dinosaurs. Then in the seventies we had the genesis
of a new form of terror; Halloween, Friday the
Thirteenth, Nightmare on Elm Street all came
and defined the ways an entire generation of zit-laden,
metal-mouthed Americans would spend their money. As the
eighties waned, however, so did horror. It tried to stand
tough through out the nineties, but the gaping wounds of
terrible writing, predictable plots and horrific acting
had already festered, turned gangrenous, died, been resurrected,
hunted for brains, and been burned alive; there was nothing
left for the horror of the 80's.
After Freddy and Jason had their last, bloody solo acts,
there was an empty pit in cinema. Thanks almost entirely
to Kevin Williamson the genre was resurrected in 1996 and
Scream became the new horror. I Know What You Did Last
Summer, Urban Legends, and so on quickly followed suit
and we had a full fledged industry at work. Of course slowly
over the subsequent years horror was once again distilled
in some places, diluted in others, washed out and re-constituted
so many times that by the year 2000 Scary Movie ended
up being more terrifying than Scream 3. The third
age of horror didn't last quite as long and its remains
are decaying much faster; no one is going to be renting
Urban Legends: Final Cut in four years for the kitsch value
(Where as Nightmare on Elm St 3 is still a classic
be sure to watch for a Laurence Fishburg so young he billed
himself as 'Larry'). But this is the natural progression
of any pop-genre, it's all doomed to fade away and become
trite and ridiculous.
And then The Sixth Sense came strolling on by, scared
the crap out of the millions, and resurrected horror for
its fourth incarnation. The Ring followed suit last year
to a fairly resounding success, and that's where we are
now. So far, it's been going fairly well. No one has tried
to make a Sixth Sense II: The SEVENTH Sense, and there is
no singular mind around which the genre rotates; I mean,
once Kevin Williamson started working on Dawson's Creek
you knew his time was pretty much up.
And that's where The Eye comes into play. A huge
box office success in China, The Eye is being
carted over to America later this month with the hopes that
it will keep the dream alive. And for what it's worth, it
will probably succeed.
One of the nice things about this current incarnation of
horror is that, like the earliest horror movies way back
when, they aren't specifically marketed for kids. Sure,
kids will probably love it - assuming they can get around
the subtitles - but adults will find plenty of smart psychology
The Eye is at once better than The Ring,
and also far inferior to it. The Ring had a truly
terrifying premise, which worked on a slightly Meta level
and really stuck with you for weeks after. The Eye
on the other hand, isn't as tricky, and doesn't try to pull
you into the movie; it's more honest, in some ways, but
also not as clever. While both movies employ very similar
tactics of fright, The Eye is somewhat subtler, more
believable in how it frightens you.
Also, The Eye works outside of its scary moments.
Some of the best scenes in The Eye have nothing to
do with the horror side of the movie, but rather with the
premise. Mun (Lee) had been blind since the age of two,
but has undergone a risky eye surgery and now must learn
to use her eyes all over again. The scenes as she learns
to flex these muscles that we take for granted, as she learns
to discern one object from another, and tries to write and
so on, are touching and very well done; its almost as if
the Pang Brothers could have made a perfectly nice movie
about a woman learning to see, without any horror, and done
just fine with it.
The Eye really feels like a cross breeding of The Sixth
Sense and The Ring; almost to a fault; while it's just as
well executed as either of its predecessors, The Pang Brothers
could have tried a little harder in the imagination department.
The whole movie smacks of unoriginality, which is primarily
it's only flaw.
Three Funky, Incomprehensible Foreign Language Characters
I like the fact that the movie is in Chinese, with English
subtitles. It makes everything feel a little more surreal.
If this had been re-done with an American cast and an American
city, it wouldn't have worked nearly as well.
Two-and-a-half Hipsters, a little shaken
This is pretty much your run-of the mill modern horror movie.
It's definitely creepy, and flat out terrifying in some
parts. The end falls pretty flat, but it makes way more
sense than Garmento,
for what that's worth. If you're in the mood to be scared
this will almost definitely do the trick.