"The Eye - 2-Disc Special Edition" DVD Review
June 12, 2008 by Zach Demeter
In recent years the horror well has run dry and studios have turned to the stupendously disturbing efforts of Asian cinema, where such films as The Grudge and The Ring scared audiences senseless. While the American remakes weren’t as admirable of an effort, they still managed to entertain. Unfortunately not all American remakes are worth seeing (big surprise), as, for whatever reason, elements are left out that make the production a much weaker result than the original film. Such is the case with The Eye, yet despite poor reviews, the film managed to gross a fair share worldwide…it’s just a shame that movie goers couldn’t have taken more away from their experiences than an empty bucket of popcorn and a lighter wallet.
When Sydney Wells (Jessica Alba) gets an eye transplant after being blind since the age of five, a whole new world is opened before her. As she adjusts to the prospect of seeing again, strange and disturbing images begin filling her mind. Not only are mysterious ghost-like creatures carrying off people she knows, but she’s also experiencing horrific visions of fiery disasters. Although no one believes her at first, Sydney is eventually able to convince her therapist to tell her the donor of her eyes. Together they find out not only who these eyes came from, but what kind person they once belonged to.
The online ads and trailers for The Eye looked absolutely disturbing. The creatures and hands coming out of Jessica Alba’s eyes were freaky and cool looking and quite honestly I thought the film might have some merit, coming from one of the freaky Asian cinema horror films. Apparently Hong Kong cinema isn’t as ripe for adaptation as the Japanese The Ring and The Grudge were, however, as there just isn’t much of anything to watch in The Eye.
While there’s nothing wrong with Alba’s acting in the film, the characters, hers included, all feel like weak, two dimensional beings that have no real purpose other than to make Alba’s character angry and confused. In particular co-star Parker Posey, who plays Alba’s sister, seems completely wasted as he role as the sympathetic and worried sister is seen all too briefly. Doctors come and go and only a sick child from the hospital where Sydney had the operation remains a strong link throughout. In all the effort felt like a slightly higher budget made-for-TV film and even that might be an insult to some of the better written efforts.
One thing I realized whiles watching the film is that the film itself wasn’t scary. Sure things randomly popped out and screamed on the screen, but there’s really nothing all that freaky about that either. It looked like a spooky time, but in reality it was closer to something like Constantine. In fact I was able to draw so many comparisons between the two I wonder if the writers didn’t just drag and drop Alba’s character over Keanu Reeves character and suck out the action. Granted there are a myriad of other differences between the two, but the same basic premise of saving people with demonic visions that are your curse to bear is the same.
The film isn’t without its moments; once it gets down into the detective mode to try to find out the source of the eyes it becomes a decent romp for awhile, but even the outcome of that is incredibly weak. The big finale is a traffic jam at the US/Mexican border, where a cop car chase eventually leads, with a big explosive finale wrapping it up. Really? That’s it? The films big finale is a gas tanker exploding? Talk about a letdown. Not only that but you’d think that, rather than contain the traffic behind the border instead of letting it through so they could get the hell out of the oncoming high-speed chases way. As long as it took for the car and cops to arrive, there would have been more than enough opportunity to clear the way.
Aside from a few very brief moments of entertainment, the whole film is just a drag. There’s little to keep the suspense moving and the mystery of the eye donor and the end result was a huge letdown. Alba’s great big job with these eyes is to save a handful of people on the other side of the border? I’m not saying their lives aren’t worth it, but when the plot of the film is a girl seeing all these demonic visions, something more than a Constantine or White Noise 2 mix-up is required.
If you enjoy horror films, Jessica Alba, well-written films, or entertaining movies, then stay away from The Eye. There’s nothing about this film that fits in any of those categories…well, aside from Alba, obviously, but even she’s not worth checking this movie out for. Skip It.
The Eye arrives on DVD in single and two-disc forms, with the two-disc edition housing only a digital copy of the film on the second disc (so you can take something boring on the road with you if you have trouble sleeping!). The packaging for the film is admittedly pretty awesome, as there is a clear slip-cover that has the title of the movie and whatnot and below is a plain image of Jessica Alba. It’s a very cool packaging layout, but one that is ultimately more exciting than the film it contains. Menus are very basic and generic in layout, with super tiny font for the options to choose from.
The video and audio presentation is admirable, although the video could have been a bit cleaner. There’s an overall dirty look to the film which may have been intentional considering how dark and unclean the image looks at times. Audio is a fair 5.1 mix that, to its credit, does use the surrounds on more than one occasion, such as the fire engulfing sequences and the “Shadowmen” that Sydney sees. It’s an all around a solid presentation, but nothing that’ll blow you away with clarity or sound engineering.
For the extras we have nearly twelve minutes of deleted scenes, eight in all. These scenes are all presented in 16x9 and are letterboxed in a 4x3 frame. Nothing too exciting to witness in these scenes and they were all obviously cut for pacing reasons, so you won’t miss too much by having them chopped from the final product. The Theatrical Trailer (2:09) is included as well, for those that want to witness the best moments of the film.
Moving we have four featurettes, “Birth of the Shadowman” (1:38), “Becoming Sydney” (4:48), “Shadow World: Seeing the Dead” (8:31), “The Eye: An Explosive Finale” (6:08). They’re all your usual making-of fluff, from the concept of the Shadowmen, Alba’s portrayal of Sydney, the CGI work and the final big explosion at the end of the film. It’s all your generic fluff and the lack of any real in-depth discussion makes these extras easily skipped.
Overall whether it’s the single, two-disc or Blu-ray editions, The Eye is a terribly uninteresting affair. Your time would be better spent finding the original or one of the better Asian-to-American adaptations. Skip It.
The Eye is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.