I have never been so perplexed over a franchise of films as I am over “The Eye” movies (three made thus far). The first is frequently called “original” and “creative” while I could easily spit out a number of other, better movies it shamelessly rips off. Just as frequently, “The Eye 2” is called “a letdown” and “mediocre.” Which leads me to say, if you thought the first one was amazing then you can skip this review, because I’m going to once again be the voice of dissent and tell you that this is a much better film than the first.
For starters, “The Eye 2” is a creative film with a story that seems derivative, but becomes quite original by the movie’s end. Joey is a woman who has been jilted one too many times, and decides to end her life by downing a ton of pills in a hotel room. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view) she is rescued, and her stomach is pumped in a brutally realistic scene that will have you dry heaving in your popcorn bowl.
Her near-death experience, coupled with the new life growing in her womb courtesy of her ex, enables Joey to see spirits – including the one stalking her.
“The Eye 2” is a deeper film than the first. Instead of just going for the jump scenes (although there are a few here as well), it also goes for a feeling of unease – and succeeds much of the time. A scene involving a double suicide is as freaky as anything I’ve seen in a while and just by itself is more creative and original than anything in the first film.
Those looking for a straight-out horror film however may be disappointed; the Pang Brothers were going for several styles here. “The Eye 2” plays as a drama at least as often as it plays the suspense card. It actually ends on a pretty uplifting beat, and several scenes change in emotional tone once you understand what is truly happening onscreen. What is here is more disturbing than scary; there are several scenes involving pre-partum bleeding, for example. There are also a couple of unintentionally amusing moments, and a couple of drawn out soap opera-style monologues, but the good far outweighs the bad.
Although “The Eye 2” is not a direct sequel of its predecessor, it shares similar themes along with a dynamic visual style and multi-faceted score. If you aren’t expecting a carbon-copy of the first film (or any of the other gazillion long-haired ghost flicks released in the last few years) you may be pleasantly surprised.
Pros: Creative and original. Really. Gave me the warm fuzzies by the time the credits rolled.
Cons: Joey’s whiny, pouty demeanor wears thin after a while. More dramatic than scary.
Review Rating: 3.75 out of 5 of the coolest packaging designs ever – the VCD box looks like an sonogram, complete with a cutout window that opens onto an insert filled with liquid. Suh-weet!
“The Eye 2” (2004)
Also known as: “Jian gui 2”, “Khon hen phi 2”
90 Minutes; Hong Kong / Thailand
Rated R for disturbing violent images
Eugenia Yuan (Yuen Chi-Kei)
Qi Shu (Joey Cheng)
Jesdaporn Pholdee (Sam)
Philip Kwok (Monk)
May Phua (Policewoman)
Rayson Tan (Gynacologist)
Directed by: The Pang Brothers (Oxide Pang Chun and Danny Pang)
Written by: Story written by Lawrence Cheng and Jo Jo Yuet-chun Hui.
Viewing Format: Import VCD.