THE EYE 2
Directed by Danny Pang & Oxide Pang
Produced by Peter Ho-sun Chan, Lawrence Chen, & Jojo Hui
Written by Jojo Hui
Director of Photograpy Decha Srimantra
Music by Payont Permsith
Cast: Shu Qi, Eugenia Yuan, Jesoaporn Pholdee & Philip Kwok
2004/98 mins/Color/Dolby Digital 5.1
1.85:1 anamorphic/Cantonese/Hong Kong/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Lions Gate Home Entertainment DVD
As illogical as it may sound, we've all sat down to watch a movie and thought, "I know this is going to suck." More often than not, I find myself doing this with sequels, as experience has taught us that most sequels aren't very good and pale in comparison to their predecessors. However, if the sequel is coming from the same creative team as the original film, then there's a chance that the movie will be good. Those responsible for bringing us the Hong Kong horror hit THE EYE have returned with THE EYE 2, but unfortunately they've made yet another disappointing sequel.
Being a sequel in name only, THE EYE 2 contains none of the characters from the first film, but does have a similar theme. As the movie opens, we meet Joey Cheng (Shu Qi), a young woman who is having an affair with Sam (Jesdaporn Pholdee). Distraught that Sam won't leave his wife for her, Joey attempts suicide, but is rescued and resuscitated. Not long after this, she learns that she is pregnant. Joey begins to have strange visions and realizes that she can see people that others can't. Consulting a temple worker (?), she learns that those who are close to death and pregnant women can often see the dead. Being both, Joey is now seeing ghosts. She's assured that the ghosts are benign, but she sees more and more of them surrounding the pregnant women that she knows and she becomes convinced that the ghosts are out to get her unborn baby.
Although there is some strong competition in this category, THE EYE wins out as my favorite Asian horror film. I loved that movie's subtle build-up, the striking visuals, and the great "jump" scares. But what made THE EYE truly work was the simple story and the appealing characters. THE EYE 2 shares some of these characteristics, most notably the aesthetic ones, but the movie feels very cold and distant, and unlike the first film, relies very heavily on graphic shocks.
The problems with THE EYE 2 are very easy to pin-point. The film's biggest problem is that the character of Joey is unlikable from the outset and it's very hard to sympathize with her. Even when she feels that her baby is in jeopardy, her attitude keeps the audience at bay. And it was a mistake to have Joey face her trauma alone. For most of the film, the focus is solely on Joey and this gives the movie an unpalatable feeling of hopelessness. The low-key approach from THE EYE is completely absent from this film, as it features some fairly graphic medical scenes. I didn't know what it looked like when someone was having their stomach pumped before I saw THE EYE 2, and I don't feel that I'm a better person for having witnessed it. There isn't a lot of gore in the film, but most women in the audience will be turned off by all of the disturbing images/ideas of complicated pregnancies.
Most of the above issues can most likely be attributed to the fact that The Pang Brothers aren't credited with writing the film this time around. However, with this talented duo behind the camera, things aren't all bad. The film has a very nice look and the Pangs are great for shooting the film with a very confined view, so that we never know what's around the next corner. The movie doesn't have the same overall creepy feel that permeated THE EYE, but it does contain one of the best "jump" scares that I've seen in a movie in a long time. The Pangs have some sort of issue surrounding elevators, and there's a good elevator scene here, involving some very imaginative special effects.
With the onslaught of Asian horror that we've seen over the past few years, it's not enough for a film to merely be moody or different. Given the quality of many Eastern films, THE EYE 2 feels very average.
THE EYE 2 can be seen on DVD courtesy of Lions Gate Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image looks good, as the picture is quite sharp and clear, showing only a small amount of grain. Asian films have a tendency to either look too dark or too bright when they're put on DVD, but the picture on this DVD is well-balanced and the colors all have realistic tones. The image shows no major defects from the source material and the mild haloes from edge enhancement shouldn't bother most viewers. This Region 1 DVD of THE EYE 2 carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track featuring the film's original dialogue. This track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The use of surround sound effects and subwoofer action is quite good, lending a nice feeling to the film. However, when compared directly to the DTS track on the Hong Kong release of THE EYE 2, this track sounds weaker, most notably during the bus stop sequence.
The DVD carries only one extra feature, which is "The Making of THE EYE 2". This 14-minute featurette includes comments from The Pang Brothers, producers Peter Ho-sun Chan and Lawrence Cheng and star Shu Qi. There are some nice behind-the-scenes moments, most notably a look at how the special effects were done for the elevator scene. Lions Gate has chosen to shackle THE EYE 2 with horrible cover art which gives the consumer no idea what the film is about.
This Film Features:
Review by Mike Long. All Right Reserved. 2005. ©