The Eye 2
The Pang Brothers do it again with a worthy scary follow-up to their acclaimed horror The Eye, starring the Gorgeous Shu Qi…
When her suicide attempt fails pregnant Joey (Shu Qi, Three Times, So Close, Gorgeous) unwittingly opens up a world of shadowy images and ghostly spirits. As the encounters become more intense and frequent she realises she needs to find out what they want. But are they real or is she just losing her sanity?
Well, you’d have hardly expected any less. The brothers Oxide and Danny Pang have followed their own, internationally acclaimed horror The Eye with a worthy sequel that is in many ways just as scary, but definitely not a rerun. (In fact, there’s no connection to the original film at all.) It’s also as sophisticated a piece of filmmaking as you could hope to find. Playfully acknowledging the expectations of the audience and exceeding them – in the same way Andrew Lau and Alan Mak’s Infernal Affairs 2 did with it’s own predecessor.
No time is wasted retracing steps on the films premise – once again the lead is left with the ability to see the dead. We all know that will happen. Instead there’s new ground to be covered, like what do the spirits actually want? Even the way the film is paced and shot is very different from it The Eye, the story flows more than relying on shocks and sudden about turns in the narrative. It really more of a drama – revolving around the character of Joey, a woman who may be experiencing supernatural visions, or may very well be losing her mind. And it’s Shu Qi’s terrific performance that allows this to work, which is one hell of a transformation for an actress whose first roles, in Sex and Zen 2 and Viva Erotica, for instance, were little more than softcore.
As with its predecessor, and seemingly every Asian horror – for instance Dark Water and the book of Spiral – one of the best scenes happens in a lift. Perhaps it’s that mix of claustrophobia and helplessness? This time, in a beautifully shot sequence, one of the spirits is seen literally floating into the lift (parts of the scene were actually shot underwater).
Perhaps one of the most significant differences is the tone of the movie. Rather than relishing the locations in Hong Kong as both Bangkok Dangerous and The Eye did, the boundaries between Asian countries become amorphous, with little to differentiate them other than language. Joey communicates in English to Thai hotel staff, in Mandarin to her Buddhist monk (played by actor/fight choreographer Philip Kwok). It’s all rather different to the glamorous use of locations in those other films, and notably a significant amount of the film takes place in hotel rooms or hospitals.
Once again, could it be the Thai filmmakers are concern with the loss of tradition? Other recent movies seemingly preoccupied with such thoughts include a list as varied as Citizen Dog and Ong-Bak. As with those films spirits beyond human control win out, as the final message of the film is both positive and uplifting, even Buddhist you might say. Though the convoluted ending sadly takes us past the point of credibility (how many times can someone through themselves off a building?)
It’s all clever stuff, of course, and arguably the Pang brothers play a little too specifically for their audience in Hong Kong. The film even directly refers to well-known urban myths like the girl with the ponytail whose face always remains covered, and the disembodied voice heard at a bus stop on Causeway Bay Road. Chances are a lot of people won’t get it – at least not completely. But even if you don’t The Eye 2 is a slick, intelligent horror and is perhaps even tighter than the original, though the story is not quite as good.
There’s not doubt that the Pang brothers are at the top of their game, and it can only be a matter of time before they cross over big time. Get on board before it’s too late!
Distributor: Tartan (UK)
Good solid transfer that does both the film and its soundtrack well. Extras are not extensive, but include some great behind the scenes footage and informative interviews with the directors and cast.