DECEMBER 24, 2007
Back in March, I was asked to do a set visit for the remake of The Eye (aka Gin Gwai), which will star Jessica Alba. Since an interview with Alba was also included (plus free food!) I was excited to go. Well it sucked, because Alba looked like hell (celebs get acne too, I guess) and the scene we got to see them film was... Alba getting out of a cab in the rain. Exciting!!!
Well the remake police better sharpen their clubs (what?), because the original film has not a single scene of the girl getting out of a cab in the rain! Clearly they have bastardized the entire film!!! Why even call it a remake if they are going to go so far from the source material! The bastards!
Unlike Ringu and Ju-On: The Grudge, I’m not even sure if this one really needed a remake for American audiences. Language aside, it’s far more accessible to an American audience than the others, and much better than those other original films to boot. Like many a J-horror film, we have a good hour of creepy scenes with no seeming point, and then a flurry of exposition as everything is explained, and once again it comes down to a woman who is needlessly dead trying to resolve her death from beyond the grave. Hell, there’s even a scene in English (which confused the hell out of me; I thought it was like some 13th Warrior shit where I just LISTENED! enough to understand what they were saying and then “heard” everything in my native language).
Oddly, the first hour actually works better. Sure, we have no idea why this poor girl is being harassed by what seems like every ghost in Asia as a result of getting new eyes, but damned if the scares aren’t effective. There’s a scene with her in an elevator as a creepy ghost man slowly approaches her that is quite chilling, at least, according to my wife (I slept through this particular scene, but it’s in the trailer and it looks good). The ones I stayed awake through were quite good too.
But once they start explaining everything it starts to fall apart. The back-story isn’t bad, but I just don’t like having everything explained all at once. I prefer when things are explained in small doses throughout the film (part of why I love Lost so much; people might think they are getting gypped with the answers but I think they dish out the information at a flawless rate). Luckily, the film gets back on track with a truly depressing finale. I don’t want to spoil it, but let’s just say the body count in this movie far exceeded my expectations.
Another surprise was the music. I loved it! The credit is given to “Orange Music”, and the only information I can find about them (him? It?) is in other reviews of the film. Some of it seems to be library or source material (I SWEAR I heard Craig Armstrong’s Romeo and Juliet score in there), but no information is given at all in the end credits about any of the music. Oh well.
Part of why I had so little hope for this one, besides my usual non-enthusiasm for these types of films, is that these guys made The Messengers, which was one of the year's weaker films. Also, I was supposed to interview them for that film and they kept blowing me off. So I was inclined to knock this one, but damned if I didn't enjoy it. Kudos, brothers Pang. Get your schedule straight and stop working for Ghost House, and you might be two of my favorite foreign directors!
In my notes I wrote down “Most skeptical grandma”. I don’t have much to say on the manner, other than that the lead’s grandmother is indeed very skeptical. She gets angry at the drop of a hat in her first few scenes, and I found it amusing. That’s about it.
What say you?