The country of origin doesn't much matter when it comes to Hollywood remakes of Asian horror films. Whether it's Japan, South Korea, or, in the case of The Eye, Hong Kong, these remakes all possess a certain sameness, drawing from a grab bag of disturbing imagery that resists any particular motif -- the exception being the heavy usage of ghostly Asian children with long hair or shrouded faces. The Hollywood remake of The Eye, in which directors David Moreau and Xavier Palud re-interpret the Pang brothers' 2002 film, faithfully continues this generic tradition, yet still manages to be interesting enough in its own right. Giving both versions their captivating creep factor is the following supposition: What if transplanted corneas could harness the visual memories of the donor? What if the eyes are literally the windows to the soul, capable of transferring one person's "consciousness" to another? This is a spooky idea, but the directors approach it without any knack for the specifics. At different points, Jessica Alba's transplant patient can see dead people, past events, and/or future tragedies; the rules aren't clear on why and when she sees what she sees. Thank goodness the nightmarish images are sprung with a strong sense of timing, which keeps viewers interested from scene to scene. Alba is pretty good as the blind violinist seeing the world for the first time. Her performance, enhanced by the directors' visual techniques, effectively dramatizes her disorientation. Even if she were only grappling with the flood of unfamiliar stimuli, this disorientation would still be significant. But also having to fend off demons, who terrorize her personal visual space? It's enough to drive a person crazy. The rest of the cast makes less of an impression, particularly a miscast Parker Posey, whose role requires none of Posey's usual eccentric whimsy.
by Derek Armstrong review