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The Eye 2
  |     review    |     awards     |     availability     |     also see      |  


Shu Qi meets a ghostly friend in The Eye 2.
Chinese: 見鬼2  
Year: 2004  
Director: Oxide Pang Chun, Danny Pang Fat  
Producer: Peter Chan Ho-Sun, Lawrence Cheng Tan-Shui, Jojo Hui Yuet-Chun
Writer: Lawrence Cheng Tan-Shui, Jojo Hui Yuet-Chun
Cast: Shu Qi, Eugenia Yuan Lai-Kei, Jesdaporn Pholdee, Phillip Kwok Chun-Fung, Rayson Tan
The Skinny: Watchable, tense, and sometimes inadverdantly funny follow-up to The Eye. The Pang Brothers once again demonstrate their excellent storytelling abilities, and Shu Qi is convincingly troubled. Still, nothing here is compelling beyond any initial fright value, and the utter convenience with which the plot gets tied up renders the whole shebang somewhat of a light experience. A decent ride, but not a classic.
 
  Review
by Kozo:

While a sequel to the The Eye might have been feasible, any revisiting of that film would only have ruined its haunting, appropriate climax. Still, The Eye was a hit, and even had its remake rights sold to the United States — to Tom Cruise, no less. In business terms, that usually means sequel, so Applause Pictures has acquiesced by giving us The Eye 2. Like the first film, The Eye 2 is directed by Thailand's popular Pang Brothers, and features a story centering on the now overdone catch phrase, "I see dead people." Instead of Angelica Lee, we get Shu Qi as a harried young woman who, duh, sees the deceased. We get an effective suspense flick, and an intriguing storyline about karma and reincarnation. We also get some inadverdant laughs, and absolutely zero unease when the movie's over. You can't win them all.

Shu Qi is Joey Cheng, a depressed girl vacationing in Bangkok after a disappointing breakup with boyfriend Sam (Jesdaporn Pholdee). One evening, she threatens suicide in her hotel room but is saved by the timely arrival of her wake-up call. However, something in her near-death experience must have flipped a supernatural switch; upon her return to Hong Kong, she starts seeing pale, ghastly figures wandering the streets. At first she blithely walks by, thinking that they can be seen by everyone else, but slowly the truth dawns upon her: she can see dead people. Cue shock pans, creepy music and an abundance of close-ups on Shu Qi's pouty face, which are enhanced for maximum harried effect thanks to a lack of makeup and a glazed, tired expression. And she still looks pretty damn good.

Sadly, her aesthetic beauty isn't much help with Sam, who's taken to ignoring her phone calls and even hiding in the closet when she drops by their once-shared apartment. His utter avoidance of her prompts Joey to hide her biggest secret from him. No, it's not the fact that she can see dead people because most people in these movies tend to hide that fact from people around them. Joey's big deal is that she's pregnant with Sam's baby, a realization that coincides with the mystery appearance of a ghastly, dirty-looking woman (Eugenia Yuan of Three: Going Home). This mystery woman stares disturbingly at Joey while she's waiting for the subway, and what occurs there is both shocking and portentous. In the months that follow, Joey is witness to a bunch of nasty-seeming events, all slowly leading up to the inevitable birth of her child, who hopefully will not be some sort of Rosemary's Baby. Then again, this is a horror flick, so bad stuff is bound to happen, right?

The best thing about The Eye 2 — other than the fact that it's a sequel to The Eye — would have to be that it was directed by the Pang Brothers. The brothers pace the film exceptionally well, and handle events with requisite suspense and visual panache. Like its predecessor, The Eye 2 is given to slow visual exposition and moments of quiet dread, and both films manage a few good "yikes" moments. Shu Qi is photogenically harried and convincingly disturbed, and the production itself is atmospherically sound and technically impressive. The special effects are probably not as good as the original (they were handled by Menfond Electronic Art and not Centro Digital), but the cinematography and art direction are impressive enough to compensate. Like The Eye, this film feels like a solid production, and it's told well enough to make for involving, suspenseful cinema. If movies are about the ride, then The Eye 2 gets decent marks.

Where The Eye 2 loses points is in its ultimate destination. The threat of horror is all well and good, and the film certainly gives us plenty of that, but the best horror flicks (at least in this reviewer's estimation) do more than just give us the occasional shock. The Eye 2 promises bad things with its ghostly figures and pulse-pounding soundtrack, but ultimately it's all very benign stuff. Another title for this film could have been The Eye 2: Joey Goes to the Hospital. Practically every tense scene in the film concludes with Joey being carted to the hospital where she calms down from her freak out, only to return to her life and repeat the whole process when she freaks out again. In the meantime nothing more disturbing than her freaking out ever seems to happen to the world around her. Eventually things get tied up with Sixth Sense-type efficiency, though there's nary a twist or truly gripping moment which makes The Eye 2 better than, say, Visible Secret 2. Sure, it's directed with a far more accomplished sense of style, but style isn't everything.

Even worse, The Eye 2 is prone to more than a few sequences that will draw a laugh instead of a scare. The way the Pang Brothers milk every moment for maximum tension is sure to raise nerves, but when the payoff isn't anything that bothersome, it all starts to feel rather silly. Joey is a believably disturbed character, but her overwrought emotions and freak-out potential makes her a less engaging character than Angelica Lee's Mun from The Eye. Mun was a strong character who strove to understand what was behind the visions she saw, and her journey was both tense and ultimately haunting. Joey is a bothered girl who gets dealt a crappy karmic hand, then proceeds to freak out despite nothing all that bad ever happening. After a while, her antics could cause a giggle, which is a shame only in retrospect. When it's all over, The Eye 2 feels like no big deal. But for a good portion of the running time, it's gripping enough to maintain interest. (Kozo 2004)

 
Awards: 41st Golden Horse Awards
• Nomination - Best Supporting Actress (Eugenia Yuan Lai-Kei)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Mega Star / Media Asia
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1
Cantonese DTS 5.1
Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
Trailers, "Making of" featurette, Alternate Ending
Also see:

The Eye (2002)
The Eye 10 (2005)

 

image courtesy of Mega Star Video Distribution (HK), Ltd.

   
 
 
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