Starring: Jessica Alba, Alessandro Nivola, Parker Posey
Directed by: David Moreau (“Ills”) and Xavier Palud (“Ills”)
Written by: Sebastian Gutierrez (“Snakes on a Plane”)
If there’s anything that Hollywood can currently do without (other than striking writers), it’s more Japanese and Chinese horror film remakes. Taking a page from “The Grudge,” “The Ring,” and both their unneeded sequels, “The Eye,” a modernized version of the Hong-Kong film “Jian Gui,” delivers a substandard plot and disguises it with unoriginal visual effects and cheap scare tactics.
The film follows Sydney Wells (Alba), a blind violin player who undergoes surgery to replace her eyes, which were damaged while playing with fireworks when she was a little girl. Although the transplant is a success from a medical standpoint, Sydney becomes terrorized by images she begins to see both in her dreams and while awake.
Not only are ghosts appearing and reappearing right in front of her (there’s a quick reference to “The Sixth Sense” in the middle of the film although I’m not too sure it was intentional), Sydney is also waking up every morning at 1:06 a.m. Gasp, I guess. Aren’t these delusional internal clocks getting a bit worn out in the horror genre?
Turning to eye specialist Dr. Paul Faulkner (Alessandro Nivola), who is supposed to help her retrain her corneas, Sydney becomes increasingly curious as to whose eyes she has inherited and what secrets this person hid away before dying. In a superfluous role, Parker Posey plays Sydney’s sister Helen and does nothing for the picture except lend her name for the credits. There is another story behind the relationship of the two women (Helen seems to feel guilty around her sibling possibly because she blames herself for the childhood accident?), but French directors David Moreau and Xavier Palud never bother to explain.
Written by screenwriter Sebastian Gutierrez (“Gothika,” “Snakes on a Plane”), “The Eye” has some interesting ideas embedded deep inside the lankiness of its actual storyline. Instead of building on its strengths, Gutierrez, along with Moreau and Palud, downplay Sydney’s physical condition and focus more on her mental instability, which comes to us in heavy doses of dream sequences and cliché editing. It would have been much more interesting to watch Sydney struggle with her new vision before inundating us with the dead.
Mark another missed opportunity for Alba. She has yet to prove that she is more than a pretty face in the industry. Until she grabs hold of a role that will give her something with substance to work with, her claim to fame just might be the “100 Hot Babes Lists” she always manages to top.