Sight for sore eyes
Jessica Alba gets herself some new eyeballs … but still can’t act
It’s rarely a good sign when a film has two directors, despite the ol’ “two heads” aphorism. It also not a good sign when neither of those two heads catches that the credits proclaim that The Eye was “Based on the Chinese-language Motion Picture The Eye. Because, well … if it was Chinese-language, wouldn’t the name of the source material be something in Chinese, like Gin Gwai?
It’s a small quibble, but forewarning to the lack of attention to detail that makes these remakes fail to deliver the goods that the originals did. Gin Gwai was long on atmosphere and short on actual scares. Here, the remake is short on atmosphere and substitutes actual scares for noise—lots of pounding percussion and braying brass to let you know that scary things are happening.
Sydney Wells (Jessica Alba) is a dim bulb in a dark world. By the script, she probably wasn’t meant to be, but here we have hot-but-not-much-else Alba playing the talented concert violinist that has been blind since a terrible accident in her youth. Somehow, Alba manages to assay the role as if being blind also makes you slightly dev-dissed. Fortunately, she manages to pull out of that when she receives a corneal transplant to restore her sight.
Unfortunately, other aggravations take over. You think that the shaky-cam in Cloverfield was annoying? Wait until you get a load of the blur-o-cam used here as Sydney gets used to her new vision. Unfortunately for her, those new corneas have a history: the ability to see the future. And it’s pretty ugly. She also sees ghosts. And the Grays that come to escort the ghosts off this mortal coil. The Grays are also pretty honked off that Sydney can see them, but all they do is hiss at her.
Generally, it’s not very clear what poor Sydney is seeing. She also sees the past, and the CGI creeping up her walls at night. Sometimes, she’s attacked by furniture. It’s not clear what issues her furniture has with her. Maybe it was all those times she bumped into them when she was blind.
And for some reason, they cast the woefully underused Parker Posey to play Alba’s sister, which is akin to hiring an electrician to come out and flick on the light switch. Parker might have made the film interesting if she had been cast as Sydney. But she wasn’t. So with the lumpen Alba in the lead, the film wanders about like a Lifetime Channel movie that has intermittent moments of loud static when things are supposed to be scary. They’re not, although the film manages to pick up in the final 10 minutes and gets sort of exciting. Sort of.