Concert violinist Sydney Wells (Alba) is well-adjusted to blindness, but undergoes a corneal transplant at her sisters (Posey) urging. However, she begins to experience terrifying visions, and despite the counsel of her doctor, Paul Faulkner (Nivola),
There are many good things about the US remake of Japanese-style South Korean horror movie The Eye. The premise - a blind woman given a “corneal transplant” begins to experience terrifying visions - is a good one. There are decent jump scares and effectively creepy scenes. And the supporting cast are the perfect mix of friendly and creepy to keep you guessing where this is all going (unless, that is, you’ve seen the original). However, the film’s two main problems - its source material and leading lady - remain insurmountable.
Despite the fact that this is Jessica Alba’s best performance ever, she is not a good enough actress to carry off this role. There’s something too sweet, almost beatific, about her Sydney character. That cuteness may help us root for her as she goes through the trauma of regaining her sight, but it also undermines her attempts to appear desperate and occasionally angry as the plot progresses. Then there’s the matter of her violin-playing: Alba reportedly trained for months in order to convince as a soloist, but none of the shots of her playing bear any resemblance to the music we hear. Perhaps the filmmakers changed the music used at the 11th hour, destroying her best efforts, but it’s either a shoddy performance or shoddier direction that takes you out of the film.
Then there’s the source material. The Eye is a clever little film but not a perfect one, and this adaptation has made little effort to correct its predecessor’s flaws. For example, the fact that many of the scary hallucinations Sydney experiences are aural, despite apparently stemming from her new eyes. That we figure out what’s going on ages before our heroine. The idea that bad things only happen across the border in a less ‘civilised’ country. Overall, this is too close to the original, making it an empty exercise in redubbing for those who have already seen that version.
There are so many wasted opportunities - it’s yet another film where Parker Posey gets a fraction of the screen time she deserves - that, instead of the emotion and terror mounting towards the climax, it’s frustration that builds instead. While it’s good to see a horror that doesn’t have an apocalyptically bleak ending once in a while, one might wish for something with more vim than this.
There are a couple of effective scares, but this feels like a retread too far. Enough with J-horror already - lets do something new.