– Summary –
Director : David Moreau + Xavier Palud
Year Of Release : 2008
Principal Cast : Jessica Alba, Parker Posey, Alessandro Nivola, Rade Szerbedzija, Fernando Romero, Rachel Ticotin, Danny Mora.
Approx Running Time : 98 Minutes
Synopsis: A woman receives an eye transplant that allows her to see into the supernatural world.
What we think : Weak-as-piss “thriller” that is neither thrilling or…. anything else, for that matter. Jessica Alba’s lithe frame cavorts across the screen, but the actress is hampered by a dire script, even worse direction, and a plot that is as incomprehensible as Curling at the Winter Olympics. The Eye is best not seen.
It must be said that Jessica Alba has the potential to be a major star, if only she tried. Her lack of quality roles during her career, only backed up by her looks, has resulted in her true potential being utterly wasted on trash like this film. The Eye is a remake of a Chinese horror film, only this time they’ve remade it in English, with US talent, and US money. Of course, the producers were no doubt hoping for a successful US transition in the same way the remakes of The Ring movies turned out. Still, those mystical Asian films don’t really translate well across to Western sensibilities, truth be told. Where The Eye ends up is in some kind of half-life of scares and drama, neither of which add up to a cohesive whole.
The Eye sees blind woman Sydney Wells (Alba) receiving a cornea transplant to help restore her sight. After the operation, Sydney begins to see dark shapes and shadows, ghost images and other horrifying stuff, which begins to drive her crazy. Seeking the help of resident ocular therapist (didn’t know there was such a thing…) Paul, played by a nervous looking Alessandro Nivola, Sydney discovers the reason she is having these visions (her implants come from a dead girl who see’s when people are going to die, apparently) and sets about trying to solve the riddle she’s confronted with.
Okay, so it’s not high drama, and to be honest, the film suffers a little bit of seen-it-all-before’s, with ghostly images stalking the dingy corridors of Sydney’s apartment building and everywhere she goes. Add in a smidge of The Sixth Sense, a tiny dollop of The Ring, a small dose of The Gift, and you’ve got The Eye. I cannot figure out whether it’s the lack of dramatic material within the script, or simply bad directing from David Moreau that makes this film yawningly boring. It’s got no heart, no real pizzazz, apart from a few moments of truly scary material….. which is not enough to prop up the rest of the movie. Alba tries hard to get into her role, but she’s given nothing to work with. He character gets no buildup, no real development save for the minimum afforded to us through her sister, played by a wasted Parker Posey. Ahha, that’s the term I was looking for: wasted.
This whole film feels like it’s a waste, with no point, no excitement, and no real spark. Nivola, looking for all the world like he’d rather be strung up by his nipples and flogged with a whip, is, frankly, a disappointment. Again, though, he’s given nothing to really work with; only the standard horror/thriller cliches such as not believing the hero for the bulk of the film, looking dour and depressed when things go bad, and having a strange hang-dog look throughout which starts to annoy more than anything else. Having no chemistry with Alba doesn’t help either, which is something sadly lacking in the film.
The film’s finale, a convoluted rush of all things supernatural, is better than the film deserves, yet again, there’s a complete lack of excitement in proceedings, leaving the viewer feeling cold and distant.
If I had to say one thing about The Eye, is that it’s a film that offered up a lot of potential, and then didn’t deliver. Alba has the potential, as well, to be a great actress, and she is easily able to carry a film on her delicate shoulders. Her ability in front of the camera, and her natural grace is wonderful: it makes you wonder what she was thinking when signing on for this. Nivola was obviously desperate for a role, he’s completely wooden and wasted here.
The whole film is a waste of time. The Eye manages to be sub-par on almost every level, it’s a wonder it made any money at all. Flat direction, a lack of cohesive logic in the plot, and a bunch of actors sleepwalking through their roles makes this film one of the big disappointments for me: the premise is cool, the execution of that premise is disappointing.