JULY 17, 2008
I got about a half hour into The Eye 2 (aka Gin Gwai 2) and realized I was getting sleepy. It’s a common thing lately; I start to doze off like 2 hrs after I get out of bed (I only sleep like 5-6 hrs, so that may be a root cause). Not wanting to miss any of the movie, I decided to give myself a shot of adrenaline by playing some Halo 3. I figured either I would win and get pumped, or lose and get mad – no matter what, I’d be energized. So I turn it on and look at my stats, and notice I am 2 wins shy of getting a promotion (which means nothing, but looks cool). “Sweet!” I said, and proceeded to win a round. Then I was in one where they said the host quit and my team won, and then I won another right out. But no promotion. I looked, and my win count hadn’t changed. This presented a third, unpredicted scenario – I win AND get mad anyway. Stupid goddamn Halo.
But it worked, and I was able to watch the rest of the film sans “eye resting”. Which is a good thing, because this one is more about story and character than scares (or a body count – by my count, the film only has one death and it’s a suicide). Not the type of thing you can miss much of and expect to know what the hell is going on, and besides, it’s simply a good movie, which deserves your full(ish) attention.
It’s admirable that a sequel would go smaller. The cast is smaller, the scares are smaller, and again, there’s no real body count to provide cheap thrills. So while nothing may rival the elevator scene in the original, it’s a movie that works better as a whole, which is preferable.
Ironically, it’s more suited to Jessica Alba’s limited acting talents, though I am guessing that if there IS a Hollywood sequel to her version of The Eye, it won’t follow this plot and/or star her anyway. Instead of having to play blind, she would only have to play pregnant, something she actually is (or was, I don’t know/care when celebrities have their babies, especially when I’m not even the father). If the movie has one flaw, it’s that for a sequel, it doesn’t have much to do with the original – no characters return, and the concept of an “eye” isn’t even really involved. She "sees" ghosts, but Christ, so does every other person in Asia, it seems (why do these people get so freaked out when they start seeing ghosts? It seems like a pretty common problem over there. I’d feel sort of gypped if I DIDN’T see ghosts, at this point).
There are also a couple other minor quirks. The main ‘villain’ ghost is a bit inconsistent regarding when the ghost seeing heroine can see HER or not, and it only seems to be that way so that a few jump scares can occur. Also, there’s a scene where the girl is at some sort of “how to be a mother” class and drowns her fake baby. Everyone seems to think its funny, and they even play silly incidental music, but I don’t see the amusement. She does it because she zones out thinking about all the ghosts she keeps seeing, a problem that may still occur once she has the real kid. This is a major concern. They also attempt an elevator scare, which is kind of silly – you can’t top the one in the original, so don’t even try. It’s like the Chain Saw remake... they knew to avoid the dinner scene. I also didn’t care too much for the constant fades to black for a second and then back up to show a jump in the narrative. It’s an editing technique I like, but they overuse it, particularly in the final act (the movie is sort of broken into chapters as it is – this makes it feel like a collection of cutscenes in a game at times).
The story is pretty powerful and even melancholy. The incredible score (other than “ghosts”, this is about all the two films have in common; the original’s was great too) aids a lot of the more emotional scenes, particularly the big reveal which is when the movie turns from decent to simply GOOD. If anything, the movie becomes even SMALLER at this point, and it’s a gamble that pays off. There are still some horror elements (including the only real gore in the film), but it’s still completely focused on the character and story, not spectacle. Very admirable.
You also gotta love a movie in which our heroine reveals herself to be completely inept at suicide. She tries to kill herself like 4 or 5 times during the movie, and she keeps failing. Most impressive is when she jumps off a roof (of a short building, but still). Not only does she survive and then drag herself up the stairs to try again, but it’s also impressive from a filmmaking perspective. We see her jump off and land, and then MOVE, all in one shot. I’m pretty good at spotting hidden edits and fake CG people, and I didn’t catch either. Either way, the shot totally fucking SELLS.
Doesn’t matter if you saw or didn’t see the original, or even if you liked it. If you like ghost movies, this is definitely one of the more interesting and unique. It’s not a masterpiece or anything, but it’s really interesting how they were able to work in the standard Asian ghost movie clichés (even long black hair entering the frame first) and yet make the film as a whole feel very original.
What say you?
*I need more Asian films WITHOUT Ghosts - if you know of any please post in the recommendation thread. Gracias...