Eye, The (2008)

The EyeReviewed by Andrew Kasch

Starring Jessica Alba, Alessandro Nivola, Parker Posey, Rade Serbedzija

Directed by David Moreau and Xavier Palud

I don’t need eyes to truly see,” says Jessica Alba in a schmaltzy scene from The Eye remake. Well I didn’t need psychic cornea transplants to see how this one would turn out. The term “remake” has now joined the ranks of words like “cancer” and “bankruptcy”; you just know it’s not going to lead anywhere good.

Sydney Wells (Alba) is as blind as a bat. When an eye transplant allows her to see for the first time in her life, she quickly goes under the knife and awakens to a bizarre world she doesn’t know. As bad fortune would have it, Sydney has been given the eyes of a dead psychic girl which makes her see bizarre visions and unpleasant ghost attacks. Sucks to be her. Or anyone who pays above matinee price to see this thing.

Ironically, The Eye practically begged for a remake. The original Hong Kong film was a popular slice of Asian horror with a few good jolts, but it was as loud and hokey as any Hollywood movie. There was more than enough room for improvement, but then again, that would require a little bit of creativity. And creativity defeats the purpose of remaking movies, doesn’t it? Instead of contributing anything to the material, the filmmakers have opted for a straight copy of the original with even louder scares and more hokey drama, something I thought impossible. With the recent advances in technology, it’s a wonder studios don’t just take foreign movies and use computers to brighten the actors’ skin pigments and use digital lip replacement to make them speak English. It wouldn’t be far from the laziness shown here.

The EyeTo add insult to injury, this is the second bad Asian remake to be made by French directors in less than a month (the first being One Missed Call from Malifique helmer Eric Vallette). Filmmakers David Moreau and Xavier Palud showed considerable skill in crafting mood and intensity with last year’s Them (a.k.a. Ils) and to no surprise, their American debut feels hollow and anonymously directed. There is nothing about The Eye that is the slightest bit different than any other assembly-line Hollywood ghost flick. CGI scares and loud stingers reign supreme, stripping away any trace of atmosphere and leaving us with the most dreadful thing possible: The acting talents of Jessica Alba.

To call Alba the “female Keanu Reeves” would seem appropriate, but it’s not really fair to Reeves, who has turned in at least a few decent performances in the span of his career. Alba is the epitome of the vapid pretty-face actress, hitting every emotion and line of dialogue like a cue-card. Paired with an equally stilted doctor/love interest character whose name I don’t care to remember, the two could easily take the “Worst Screen Couple” award at next year’s Razzies. The only thing resembling a performance in the entire film comes from the great Parkey Posey in a thankless “why-the-hell-are-they-here?” role as Alba’s sister.

The EyeAside the generic filmmaking and piss-poor acting, there is one major difference in the remake that viewers of the original will find unforgivable: A cop-out Hollywood ending. Since this is impossible to discuss without diving into spoilers, those blissfully unaware readers might want to skip the following paragraph:

The original film ends when our heroine finds herself in a horrible traffic jam and, in a sudden psychic twist, realizes there will be an accident seconds before a cataclysmic explosion destroys everyone in sight. The remake gives us the same scenario with a different outcome: After verbally spoon-feeding us the meaning of her visions, Jessica Alba heroically leaps into action and saves the lives of everyone by clearing the road before the explosion, branding her a national hero in one of the sappiest finales in recent memory. Imagine if The Ring remake had ended with Samara popping out of the television to deliver a bouquet of flowers and you’re not far off from the Lifetime-level cheese this movie serves up.

Dull, clichéd, and silly, this is yet another watered-down slice of horror cinema that will score big with teenage girls under the age of fifteen. For the rest of us, The Eye is about as fun as ocular surgery.

2 out of 5

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Steve Barton

You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.

  • Sirand

    It’s getting beat at the box office by Hannah Montana! LOL!

  • Caine Is Able

    By the way, didn’t this one suffer a lot of reshoots by someone(s) other than the directors? While I doubt their own “original” cut of the film would be too much better considering the material, I’m sure the likely homogenized replacement footage didn’t help things much.

  • Terminal

    “HAHAHAHA! Terminal said “Happy Endings”…”

    You saucy minx.

  • Kryten Syxx

    For the price of a matinee ticket, you could own a far more entertaining movie called Colonel Kill Motherfuckers.

  • Sirand

    Just go see Rambo again.

  • Permafrost

    Fuck this movie in the eye socket.

  • Melissa Bostaph

    HAHAHAHA! Terminal said “Happy Endings”…. 🙂

    Andrew…I’ll do this publically…


    But I may watch it on DVD…

    I need stuff to put on my worst list for 2008…Mwahaha!

  • Kryten Syxx

    So, if we use your scale does that mean Jason Behr is the male “Jessica Alba”?

  • Terminal

    Oh really? Rather than her going blind again, she becomes a national hero? Ah, that’s America for you. Happy endings to keep from popping our bubble.

  • Caine Is Able

    Yeah…………….I’m just going to go see Rambo again.

    I didn’t like the original version of The Eye, so I have no interest in seeing an even worse Hollywood redo of it. I think the big question this year will end up being “which one of the three Asian horror remakes was the worst? One Missed Call? The Eye? or Shutter?”. Who wants to bite the bullet and see all three to make a comparison for us?