As I said before, I’m not a big fan of horror, but here I go again, endorsing another horror film, the Pang brothers’ “The Eye (2003).”
The story is nothing new; a young blind woman, Mun (Angelica Lee), gets some cornea transplants, but the donated organs come with a little something extra. While still in the hospital, she begins seeing a shadow follow dying patients around. In ordinary life, she keeps encountering people who disappear or run through her. Then things get even freakier for our heroine.
Nice setup there; the atmosphere is appropriately spooky, and Lee delivers the right notes as a confused and isolated re-sighted woman. We feel her pain and her confusion; she doesn’t remember sight, and for all she knows, this is what it’s like. And her freakouts when she realizes her eyes come with a higher price are equally believable.
One spoiler-free note on the ending: I can recommend this horror film because while it indulges the supernatural side, it’s fully grounded in the characters and the story. Like “May” or “Let the Right One In,” you give a damn about what happens to her. No higher praise for any movie, horror or not.
PS: Yes, I haven’t seen it, and I’m completely guilty of pre-judging a movie (something I try to avoid, with mixed results), if you want to enjoy “The Eye,” get the original and not the American remake that stars Jessica Alba. She is beautiful and an utterly hypnotic presence on screen, but she can’t act to save her life. I can’t imagine her bringing any depth or feeling to the role or even coming close to Lee’s performance. Save yourself some pain and skip the substitute. Subtitles aren’t that bad.
“The Eye” (2003)
Directed by Oxide Pang Chun and Danny Pang
Written by Jo Jo Yuet-chun Hui, Danny Pang and Oxide Pang Chun
Starring: Angelica Lee (Mun)
Lawrence Chou (Dr. Wah)