Have you ever wondered what The Sixth Sense would have been like had it been made with one tenth of its budget, kept half of that money for the final five minutes of the film, and got rid of that surprise ending? Yeah, me neither.
But the Pang brothers couldn’t leave the ‘I see dead people’ sub-genre alone, and rushed head first into the adventure, hitting their skulls on every corner of their small-budget film along the way.
The Eye opens with Mun (Angelica Lee) reminding us that the world is ugly and beautiful at the same time. Deep. This pseudo-philosophical statement might cause the audience to believe they’re in for a horror movie full of allegory, but this thread never pays off. The plot remains as superficial and clichE as is too often the case in the horror genre.
Mun is blind, and she undergoes a cornea transplant to restore her vision. Except that the eyes she receives are those of a woman who used to be able to see the dead before she committed suicide. Oops.
What happens next is limited to her seeing dead people walking (or floating) around, scaring the hell out of her, but leaving the audience rather cold. This movie is about as frightening as a ride in the Haunted House at La Ronde, except that this particular ride lasts about 100 minutes.
Written and directed by the Pang brothers, they do get to prove the audience that they are skilled when it comes to camera work, but the multitude of nicely composed shots soon start to make the audience feel like they are only there to divert their attention from the neglected script.
And there’s the score; overly dramatic during those creepy moments, overly dreamy during those sentimental ones, as if to compensate for the fact that the movie is neither really creepy, nor sentimental without the music. As a result, the score disrupts the mood it tries to heighten.
And the montage sequences… Oh Lord, the montage sequences. There are three of them scattered in there, as if the Pang Brothers believe that inter-cutting multiple shots at a fast pace magically creates meaning, but the end result is as empty as your typical music video.
The Pang Brothers could have made a horror movie on a small budget – I’ll be the first one to shamelessly admit that I find the first eight entries in the Friday the 13th series wildly entertaining – but their biggest mistake is that they stubbornly refuse to let anything be unseen in order to allow the imagination of the audience to play its part. This stubbornness can be seen though a series of lamentable special effects that makes The Eye as laughable as an episode of Passions.
The Pang Brothers do get effort points for trying to pull our strings; it’s too bad they don’t make them budge.
Now playing at CinEma Du Parc.