Even after twelve years, The Eye still feels fresh and different from other horror movies. Or in this regards Asian horror movies (*cough* Indonesian horrors *cough*).
Written by Jojo Hui and Pang brothers, Gin Gwai or The Eye tells the story of a blind girl who sees ghosts after her cornea transplant. Wong Kar Mun has been blind since the age of two and was quite excited to get her vision back. She is a violin player who lives alone, but after the operation she decided to stay with her grandmother in a flat where she soon encountered some spooky beings: a kid appear on the doorstep asking about his missing school report or my favourite jump scare moment when Mun rides the elevator with a grotesque looking old man! Scared out of her wit, Mun then seeks help from a young psychologist who begins to fall for her. Together they uncovered the mystery behind Mun’s “gift” and the heartbreaking history behind her donor.
The appeal behind The Eye lies in its simple story. A story where no psycho killer is on the loose and no haunted house is on the market for its new resident. The premise of seeing a ghost after eyes transplant itself is right down scary since it can happen to anybody! Moreover, supported by Pang Brothers’ unique directing, The Eye is easily an above average entertainment.
By far this is Pang Brothers’ most sincere work. The Eye is sincere because it doesn’t try hard to scare you. I admit there are scenes that felt forced, but given its genre, the film maintained its eeriness right till the end. I am surprised that Pang Brothers actually take their time to build Mun’s character and not jump straight to the scare-fest right away. The mystery surrounding “who is the donor” is also a welcome narration. If they chose not to include that story line, I am sure none of us would care to think twice. But since they did, the film’s narration felt complete and thorough.
Angelica Lee as Wong Kar Mun is as good as any horror actresses can be. She didn’t over dramatize her misery nor did she shout like a teenage girl when she saw a ghost. Albeit her solid performance, the supporting characters on the other hand can be improved. I believe this is what’s stopping Asian horrors from becoming strong horror movies: the supporting actors! I wish the casting directors would pay further attention to this since they are important for the whole picture as well.