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EYE, THE

SYNOPSIS:
Blind violinist Sydney Wells (Jessica Alba) has a corneal transplant which restores her sight after two decades of blindness. But with the return of her sight come disturbing images which scare her. Neural specialist Dr Paul Falkiner (Alessandro Nivola) take up her case and believes she just needs to adjust to the new world she sees around her. Paul and her sister Helen (Parker Posey) try hard to support her but Sydney is convinced the images she sees are somehow linked to the donor whose eyes she has been given, giving her an ability to see terrifying things about the past and the future.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
The idea behind the original 2002 Hong Kong movie is a clever extension of the idea that cellular memory is a medical fact - our cells can 'remember'. It's a big jump to eyes (the corneas) remembering events, and even bigger to eyes that recreate events, see dead people, and also those ghastly ghosts who collect the dead. This garbled remake suffers from being stuffed with too many such disparate and credulity-straining elements.

But, OK, supernatural horror is not meant to be credible. Not the supernatural horror part, that is. It stretches credibility, for example, that a burnt out Los Angeles restaurant remains as it was the night of the fire for three weeks, so anyone can just walk through the charred debris and crumbling walls. That's a small problem compared to the litany of silliness that is allowed to invade the film. The cellular memory element is bent out of shape with the dead donor's eyes also being able to see into the future.

The all-too obvious manipulation devices are counter productive; such as the establishment of scenes in which Sydney (Jessica Alba) is evidently awake but after she experiences terrifying hallucinations, she wakes up as if she'd been asleep. Silly us. Or the repeated use of explosion-ignited fires that have happened or will happen which Sydney repeatedly sees. There are three such fires, each with different victims at different places and times/circumstances, but since the first fire is the trigger for a significant plot point, the fires become confusing. I also find the notion of the donor being a poor girl from a Mexican village 15 hours drive from Los Angeles hard to digest.

Fans of the genre may still find the film as creepy and scary as it is intended to be, although it relies for so much of its scare-power on sudden bursts of flame accompanied by fearsome noise, or the appearance of ghostly death figures who whisk away the dead, or the scary nightmares and hallucinations Sydney experiences. These jolts are shallow and irritating, exposing the lack of originality in this remake.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

EYE, THE (M)
(US, 2008)

CAST: Jessica Alba, Alessandro Nivola, Parker Posey, Rade Serbedzija, Fernando Romero, Rachel Ticotin, Obba Babatunde,

PRODUCER: Don Granger, Paula Wagner

DIRECTOR: David Moreau, Xavier Palud

SCRIPT: Sebastian Guiterrez (original by Jo Jo Yuet-chun Hui, Oxide and Danny Pang)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jeffrey Jur

EDITOR: Patrick Lussier

MUSIC: Marco Beltrami

PRODUCTION DESIGN: James Spencer

RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 13, 2008







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