The feel-good Japanese horror remake vehicle of the year! No, that’s a bad thing.
Sydney Wells (Jessica Alba) is an accomplished concert violinist who lost her sight playing with firecrackers with her sister (Parker Posey) at the age of five. A double corneal transplant restores her sight, but strange things besides what normal people see also begin coming into focus. Her doctor (Alessandro Nivola) thinks she’s just trying to get attention for not being a “special blind person” anymore, but the shadowy things she is able to perceive seem a bit upset that she can see them at all. Can Sydney figure out the riddle of her mysterious visions before resorting to clawing her eyes out, or will the script itself suggest that course of action to the viewing audience instead?
Think The Sixth Sense meets Final Destination and you’ve pretty much have The Eye (shouldn’t that be “The Eyes?”). From the very beginning, the story begins with a terrible voice-over of Alba lamenting about being blind and such. The prologue ends with the bandages being taken off her eyes and filling the rest of the first act with all the creepy stuff you’d expect: strange shadows, dead people, visions, and so forth. The second act seems to be a rehash of the first except that now Sydney is determined to solve the problem by investigating it (no matter what!) Finally an answer is mercifully offered to start the third act, and the explanation given winds it all down to a convenient ending. There are a few good ideas here and there, but no one in the cast is given much to do other than travel to where the next plot device lies waiting to ambush them.
What’s particularly sad is that Jessica Alba has a much better range than “frightened shower scene girl.” Go back and watch the two seasons of James Cameron’s “Dark Angel;” Alba’s character from that show would have been kicking supernatural arse, but instead we get the same boring female needs-to-be-rescued archetype that cannot function without a man (particularly one in need of a shave). Alba also had better chemistry with Dane Cook in every scene of Good Luck Chuck than throughout this entire film with Alessandro Nivola. And here’s the really funny part: although Alba’s eyes were the only thing transplanted, creepy sounds precede almost every vision, making a later scene when she tries to keep those images out by breaking all her lamps and blindfolding herself seem pretty stupid by comparison.
Even with reducing Jessica Alba once again to a beautiful object of rescue, there still isn’t much to keep this supernatural thriller focused. The foolish script ensures that even Alba’s best scene opportunities are undermined by bad writing, and some of the film’s more interesting bits are practically abandoned far short of their potential in favor of weaker elements. It’s possible that better ideas were chucked out in rewrites to save money on writing credits, but what’s left isn’t strong enough to make the film even a little memorable in spite of the camera ogling every inch of flesh it can catch Alba revealing. We recommend that the filmmakers go back and watch last year’s The Messengers to see a very similar idea with better execution and minus the ridiculous sight gag.
(a one and a half skull recommendation out of four)