The Eye (2002)
Film: The Eye (Gin gwai)
Director: Danny Pang and Oxide Chun Pang
Writer: Yuet-Jan Hui, Danny Pang and Oxide Chun Pang
Starring: Angelica Lee, Chutcha Rujinanon and Lawrence Chou
This film follows a young woman played by Angelica Lee. We learn that she has been blind since she was two years old. She goes into the hospital where they perform a cornea transplant that will allow her to see. The doctor that performed the operation is played by Edmund Chen.
Lee is in recovery when a girl wakes up her, played by Yut Lai So. She has a brain tumor and has a lot of surgeries to correct it. They make a deal to go outside once Lee can see. She has bandages over her eyes. Lee is taken to a room with Chen, a nurse, her grandmother played by Yin Ping Ko and her sister played by Candy Lo. As they are taking off the bandages we see that it is too bright and hurts. Everything is blurry, but Lee sees a figure in a corner away from everyone. They delay taking them off.
Soon after this, Lee gets up in the night to see an old woman, played by Jinda Duangtoy, in a hallway. There is a shadow figure with her that frightens Lee. It turns out that Duangtoy has died in the night. Before Lee is discharged, there is a scene where Lee takes a picture with So.
Lee is taken to another doctor that will help her with learning what things are in the world. During this drive though, she sees a figure on the highway. She is used to touching them and needs to learn what they look like by sight. It turns out this doctor is played by Lawrence Chou. He is the nephew of Chen. Lo is a flight attendant and asks if Chou can make sure her sister can make it home as she has a flight to catch.
Ko starts to show Lee videos her father made for her when she was a girl. There is a knock at the door and there is a boy there. He asks if she has seen his report card and she tells him no. Ko asks who it is and she tells her, Ko then responds he is messing with her. The boy is gone from the door and Lee goes into the hallway. She sees him outside of a door, eating a candle. She joins him, but when the door opens and boy is gone.
Lee starts to think that she is seeing ghosts. This is confirmed when she goes to a restaurant and woman working sees them too. She goes to Chou for help and he doesn’t believe her at first. This is starting to drive her crazy, to the point where Chou goes to Chen to tell him he has to help her. Chen doesn’t believe, but Chou is out to help her in anyway that she can.
Lee goes to visit So and learns she has passed away. This shadow figure appears again as well as with a boy who was hit by a car. Lee is given a card and sees inside of it a picture of her with So. She asks who the woman is in the picture and Chou asks if she doesn’t recognize herself. She freaks out, because that’s not how she looks in the mirror. She is haunted by nightmares and another room.
Can she figure out the truth? Who is the person she is seeing in the mirror? Did something happen to her? Is Lee the one with the powers of sight or was it the transplant that gave her this?
Now I have to say that I did see the American remake years ago and I normally prefer the Asian version better and this is definitely the case here. I felt that this film delivered on the scares where from what I remember about the other version was that it didn’t. Many of the ghosts we see are really creepy. The two that really stuck out to me is a woman with her baby in the restaurant and an old man in an elevator. I felt the story for this film was solid. The film does present that Lee might be sensitive to ghosts to start with, but then we really see that the corneas she is given was from a person who had visions. It ties in the concept of unexpected death as what keeps ghosts here and suicide as well. The shadow men were a creepy concept and I like how the beginning and ending come full circle as well at the climax.
I felt the acting was pretty solid. Lee did a great job as the lead. She played being a blind person well and I even believed when she got her sight that she had trouble understanding it. She hides her eyes a lot and uses sunglasses even after it should be healed. Now part of this is due to the ghosts she is seeing, but it even happens before she really starts to fear. I thought Chou was good as the doctor who wants to help her as a patient, but the deeper he gets the more he is willing to do. So was cute and I liked the role she played. I also liked that Lo and Ko seemed to slightly believe in the supernatural. I don’t know if this is something in the Asian culture or not, but it played well.
Now for the most part this film used practical effects. I thought the ghosts looked creepy and some of them actually got me to jump. They did use computers at times and I wasn’t a fan of that. It made some of it look really fake and unrealistic. This is definitely the case at the climax. That did disappoint me. Now I thought the editing was good, especially at the climax when they are trying to sync it with what the original owner of the eyes did. I thought that was a good touch. The editing was also very good when Lee’s room is changing when something is swinging. The soundtrack also was very good in setting the mood of the scenes. I was a big fan there.
With that said, I would recommend this one. This is a solid Asian ghost horror film. I think it is much better than the remake, but I will need to revisit that one to say how much better. I thought the story to this film was good and builds well to the climax. I liked how the climax mimicked what Lee learns in the film and that it comes full circle. Lee was great and the rest of the cast rounded it out nicely. I thought the effects and make-up of the ghosts was good, but I did have issues with the CGI that was used. It doesn’t hold up well at all. The editing and soundtrack of the film were both solid as well. I would say this is an above-average ghost film. This is from Hong Kong and Singapore, so keep that in mind. I actually watched it with subtitles, so if that’s a problem, then you should probably avoid this.
My Rating: 7 out of 10