Last year, many people in the movie business were startled by the success of The Ring, underestimating the appetite of American audiences for Asian-style horror. That film was a Hollywood remake of a Japanese film called Ringu and it retained much of the mystery and suspense of the original while judiciously Americanizing the setting and narrative style.
Now, those of us who have come late to the horrors out of Asia will have an opportunity to be among the cognoscenti starting this Friday, when The Eye hits local art house screens. This hit Hong Kong flick has already been optioned for a Hollywood remake by Tom Cruise's production company. However, it's probably best that The Eye not be burdened with such hype, for its plot isn't anything new--its themes have cropped up in such recent films as The Sixth Sense, The Mothman Prophecies and any picture that features transplanted organs drawn from suspect donors.
Still, co-directors Danny and Oxide Pang have made an eerie film that makes effective use of lighting effects, classical and electronic music and locations that range from Hong Kong to rural Thailand. Just as The Ring succeeded largely because of its restraint, the Pang boys eschew the cheap frights in the interest of sustaining a suspenseful atmosphere.
In The Eye, the dead ultimately need someone to lend a sympathetic ear. For them, the "consummation devoutly to be wished" is a feeling of closure.