A movie that saw a lot of praise heaped upon its directors (The Pang brothers), The Eye was released at just the right time to catch the first crest of the modern Asian horror movie wave. Yes, our friends in the East had always been providing some great movies but it was really Ringu and a handful of others that saw the upsurge in interest from fans at the turn of the 21st century, in my opinion. And The Eye came along in this peak period. Of course, it helps that it’s a damn fine horror movie too.
The movie is all about Wong Kar Mun (played by Angelica Lee), a young blind woman about to undergo a cornea transplant and hoping to discover the visuals of the world around her. Lawrence Chou is Dr. Wah, a man who finds that he both likes his patient and feels a need to help her above and beyond the call of duty when she starts to complain of seeing things that may not actually be there in reality. With nothing to compare to, Mun cannot tell what is in front of her eyes and what she should actually be seeing there.
Based on a couple of small, interesting items that definitely add a certain resonance to the horror shown (I won’t spoil anything by revealing them here, a little nosing around should see you find them easily enough), The Eye remains so effective due to it’s consistently creepy atmosphere and it’s mix of subtlety and rare jump scares. There are at least four, by my count, jump out of your skin moments but almost every scene has a brooding, unnerving quality as we journey with Mun towards her discovered solution to the events unfolding around her (hopefully).
The acting is just fine but this is a mood piece, all about sounds and murky visuals. Things half-glimpsed or misinterpreted. Unnerving noises closer than they should be. Things in the world that the audience can see while other characters onscreen cannot. It’s a great horror movie and remains one of my favourites, overtaken recently by the likes of A Tale Of Two Sisters and a few others. A must-see for fans of Asian horror.
DIRECTOR: OXIDE PANG CHUN, DANNY PANG (AKA THE PANG BROTHERS)
STARS: ANGELICA LEE, LAWRENCE CHOU, CANDY LO, YUT LAI SO
RUNTIME: 99 MINS APPROX
COUNTRY: HONG KONG, SINGAPORE