The Eye (2003)

Genres - Horror, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Thriller  |   Release Date - Jun 6, 2003 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 100 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom , Hong Kong , Singapore , Thailand   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Jason Buchanan

Sustaining a palpable sense of dread throughout while providing frequent effective shocks, the latest offering from the Pang brothers successfully balances the more horrific aspects of their supernatural tale with some thoughtful personal touches. Though horror fans will inevitably draw comparisons to such aesthetically similar efforts as The Sixth Sense and The Ring, The Eye stands well enough on its own by offering a stylishly rendered tale of terror and well-drawn, sympathetic characters. As Mun (Angelica Lee) struggles to adjust to a new world of sight and Dr. Wah (Lawrence Chou) attempts to assist her in expanding her visual vocabulary, the audience truly feels how disorienting it might be to suddenly experience the world in an entirely new context. Add in the supernatural visions that she suffers upon regaining her sight and her struggles to maintain her sanity amidst increasingly disturbing encounters, and the viewer gradually grows to experience Mun's plight in a remarkably personalized way. Additionally, the subsequent effect that the death of a minor but pivotal character has on Mun provides a well-drawn transition in her understanding of how her gift may be used. Clearly attracted to Mun, the protective Dr. Wah's ethical dilemma in contrast to his older and more professional uncle renders his conflicted character equally three-dimensional. Though the characters and their plights are effectively portrayed, the fright factor is what ultimately drives this film, and the Pang brothers certainly deliver. As visual stylists, the duo is a formidable force that knows well how film a visually extravagant and horrifyingly grotesque scare. The assured cinematography and striking imagery frequently succeed in creating beautiful depictions of often disturbing events. Perfectly complementing their visual craftsmanship, their equally adept editing skills set the stage for some of the most memorably jarring set pieces in recent horror history. As usual with many successful Asian films of late, The Eye was quickly optioned for an American remake.