Eye 2, The (2004)

Starring Shu Qi, Eugenia Yuan Lai-Kei, Jesdaporn Pholdee

Directed by Oxide Pang

The Eye 2 is way better than it has any right to be. The Pang Brothers sequel to their breakout hit The Eye, this is a continuation of the original story in name only, and like the best follow up films, delivers a completely new experience.

Gone is the original film’s central premise of an eye transplant from Haley Joel Osment. This time around, we’re introduced to the idea that only during death, and at the moment of conception, are human beings able to make contact with the ghosts of the dead. Unfortunately Joey, the female protagonist of the film, gets knocked up by her inconstant boyfriend, and swallows half a bottle of sleeping pills. Quicker than you can blubber “I see dead people” Joey secures herself into a double dose of ghost vision.

Like the first film, the comparison to The Sixth Sense is only superficial. The Eye 2 actually provides a very plausible explanation of why ghosts are so preoccupied with birth and death. Mothers, lock up your daughters, it seems the ghosts are hanging about so they can jump into your unborn baby’s body. Anybody up for a little reincarnation?

You really haven’t lived until you seen a Lamaze class full of huffing women, and the ghosts that haunt them, just waiting to crawl up their wombs. It’s unclear why a Buddhist who believes in reincarnation would find the thought of a spirit entering their baby so offensive, but in Joey’s case, it probably has something to do with her absolutely shit luck on the karmic roulette table. It’s one thing to have some anonymous friendly ghost reincarnate as your child, but the situation’s quite a bit worse than that for poor Joey.

[spoiler starts]

Turns out that the baby’s father was cheating on his wife when he impregnated Joey, and the wife killed herself when she found out. Not the kind of thing that’s going to have you feeling very good about yourself at the best of times, but it gets worse. The ghost of the dead wife has chosen Joey’s baby as the body she will be reborn into. Joey tries to explain what’s going on to the father, memorably exclaiming, “Your wife is going to be our baby!” The Pangs deserve accolades just for being able to make a line like this plausible, never mind the fact that it actually comes out sounding creepy!

[end spoiler]

The Eye 2 is much more than your usual new wave Asian ghost story. It deftly weaves a tale concerning infidelity, motherhood, Buddhist spirituality, and children paying for the sins of their parents. It’s a potent cocktail that doesn’t skimp on the scares either. The Pang Brothers are quickly rising through the ranks of scare innovators with their effective use of camera moves, misdirection, sound design and mood to deliver some of the best “Boo!” moments in recent memory.

Forget Baby Gap, I’m bringing The Eye 2 to the next baby shower I get invited to. Guaranteed to ensure you’ll never be asked to be godparents again!

4 out of 5

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Jon Condit

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