Directed by Danny and Oxide Pang starring Lee Sin-Jie and Lawrence Chow.
The Pang Brothers' last outing, 'Bangkok Dangerous', was visually inventive but undone by woeful characterisation and a dreary plot. For 'The Eye' they've got a bigger budget and a much better cast, but more importantly, they've learned from their mistakes and improved as directors.
Jie plays Mun, a Hong Kong woman who has been blind since the age of two but is offered the chance to see again through cornea replacement surgery. The operation is a success and Mun approaches the learning curve ahead with a mixture of fear and excitement. But any debt of gratitude she might feel disappears on discovering that she has inherited the burden the donor carried all her life.
While 'The Eye' recalls many aspects of 'The Sixth Sense' and 'The Others', the Pangs throw in plenty of their own ideas and images to ensure you don't feel you're watching a re-run. With a much sturdier script than 'Bangkok Dangerous', they again take the theme of how an outsider faces the world (last time their hitman hero was deaf mute) and then follow them trying to make sense of it. Billed as a horror, it's not really that scary and wisely the brothers seem far more interested in Mun's unravelling than any cheap shocks. And without giving too much away, instead of plumping for the happy ending, they go for a grandstand finish that fills you with both sadness and hope.
Oxide's next film is an adaptation of Alex Garland's 'The Tessetract' starring Irish actor Jonathan Rhys-Meyers. He and Danny might not be masters just yet, but 'The Eye' shows much promise and after watching it, you'll feel that the word 'opener' should've also made it into the title.