Due to my extremely short attention span, I’m guessing the Hollywood raid into the Japanese horror genre started with The Ring. Next on the borrow list was The Grudge. The success of these movies inspired several uninspiring sequels and in 2008, two – yes, two – brand-spanking new copies hit the theaters: One Missed Call (which I couldn’t muster the strength to see) and now The Eye.
The Eye stars everyone’s favorite starlet, Jessica Alba, as a blind as a bat violinist, Sydney Wells. She’s been sightless since the age of five and now, some 15 years later, the chance has presented itself for her to regain her sight through a cornea transplant. With the help (prodding due to guilt is probably a better adjective) of her sister Helen (Parker Posey), she musters up the courage to go through with the operation. But the joke is on you, if you think it could be that simple. As it turns out, shortly after the procedure, poor Sydney begins to have terrible visions. Ghost like figures and screaming, burning people haunt her nightly. Thinking the worst (who wouldn’t), she seeks the counsel of Dr. Paul Faulkner (Alessandro Nivola) who cleverly chalks it all up to her body getting adjusted to her new sense of sight. Unfettered with his diagnosis, she decides to seek out the donor, with or without his help, determined to prove, once and for all, that she isn’t crazy.
You may ask, “What was it that caused her so much grief?” or “Was she able to rectify the situation?”. I’m not even going to acknowledge those questions with an answer (you should be slapped for even thinking of asking them). What I am going to do, is tell you to avoid seeing The Eye for two major reasons.
First, this may very well be the least frightening horror movie I’ve ever seen in my many years. There’s no suspense either. Directors David Moreau and Xavier Palud rely on old shock tactics and camera tricks to try and squeeze out any semblance of terror from this tired premise. It may be due to their relative inexperience behind the camera or because of the highly suspect screenplay by Sebastian Gutierrez. I’d venture a guess Gutierrez didn’t put much time into translating or in the embellishment of the original work. Whatever the underlying reason is, The Eye clearly suffers from it. Gravely.
Second, even though I shouldn’t have to spell it out, watching Jessica Alba act is about as much fun as getting hit in the head with a crowbar. Repeatedly. To her credit though, she does actually try to display some emotional range — Sydney is undoubtedly a troubled young lady — but try as she might, it is completely and utterly unbelievable. Her days as a card carrying member of the Screen Actors Guild must now come to a swift and complete end (the horror that was Good Luck Chuck was no apparition). In place of it, she should be awarded stage time at Seventh Veil. Apparently, the directors agree with my replacement idea since they added a totally unnecessary shower scene to the movie (no she doesn’t get naked).
It is therefore the opinion of this film critic (used loosely) that any attempt to see this movie be met with the utmost of resistance. While it isn’t nearly as bad as getting your own corneas replaced, it does rank in at a close second. There is no shame in pretending you’re temporarily blind to avoid seeing The Eye either — hell, I would have done the same thing if this .30-cent a day job didn’t require otherwise.