The Eye
Lionsgate Home Entertainment // PG-13 // $34.98 // June 3, 2008
Review by Justin Felix | posted May 31, 2008
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The Movie:

The Eye is one of the latest in a long string of American remakes of ghost flicks from Asia. It follows the tried and true formula of casting a good-looking American actress as the film's heroine who has to figure out what it is that the vengeful ghost wants in order to put an end to the film's mayhem. Sarah Michelle Gellar fit the bill in The Grudge, Naomi Watts took care of business in The Ring, and Rachael Taylor did her best as a Naomi Watts-clone in the recent theatrical release Shutter. I'm a fan of these movies - even when they're not so good - so I looked forward to seeing The Eye with Sue Richards of the Fantastic Four herself, Jessica Alba, playing the lead.

In The Eye, Jessica Alba plays Sydney, an accomplished violinist who was blinded at age 5 when she was playing with firecrackers with her older sister Helen, portrayed by Parker Posey. Helen has apparently been pushing for corneal transplants for years as part of her guilt for the role she played in Sydney's condition. Lo and behold, at the start of the movie, Sydney is getting ready for such an operation to restore her sight.

This is horror film territory, of course, and one cardinal rule in horror movies is that if you receive transplants, those transplants are going to spell trouble - especially if you are a musician. Frankenstein's Colin Clive discovered this in Mad Love playing a pianist who receives a killer's hands. In The Eye, things go from bad to worse as Jessica Alba's Sydney character grows accustomed to her newfound sight. She sees fires, dead people, and a mysterious shadow figure that seems to accompany the recently departed. She even begins to see someone else any time she looks at a reflection.

As is also often the case in horror movies, Sydney's mental stability is called into question when she confides in others. People are skeptical, of course. Helen is concerned. So too is Sydney's love interest, a doctor she begins to see that seems to only have time for her. Similar to other haunted films like A Stir of Echoes, there's a mystery afoot, and it's up to Sydney to piece together what her visions are telling her.

The Eye isn't as good as The Ring or The Grudge, but I found it entertaining nonetheless. The cast, for one thing, is solid. Jessica Alba and Parker Posey are surprisingly good in their roles, and it's completely believable that the two actresses are sisters. Alessandro Nivola plays Sydney's doctor. He's likeable enough, although the role is basically a mechanism to assist the plot and provide a secondary love interest for the requisite happy ending.

The plot of The Eye, while formulaic, is taut and keeps things moving well enough. The ending is very predictable, but it's still satisfying. If you haven't seen The Grudge or The Ring, see those first. If you enjoyed them, then check out The Eye for more horror hokum in the same vein.



On the back DVD cover art, Lionsgate has a banner that reads "16x9 Widescreen 2.35:1 DVD Screen Format," and that's exactly what's delivered. It is anamorphic. The image is very pleasing with nice detail and solid colors.


Two audio tracks are available with this film: an English language Dolby Digital 5.1 and a Spanish language Dolby Digital 2.0 (a part of The Eye is set in Mexico, so this seems especially a propos). I listened to the English language track and found it very pleasing - with dialogue, score, and sound effects nicely mixed.

There's also a "Theatrevision (English Audio Descriptive Service)" audio option. A man with a gravelly voice describes the action of the movie as it happens.

English and Spanish subtitles are available.


When the disc is played, trailers automatically precede the main menu for Midnight Meat Train, The Eye 2, Catacombs, and The Descent. A commercial for Fearnet is thrown in for good measure. There's a link to the collective trailers in the menu called Also From Lionsgate under Special Features. A separate link beside it provides the trailer for The Eye.

In addition to the trailers, the Special Features section includes the following:

Deleted Scenes has 8 scenes deleted from the film, with an option to play each individually or collectively under a "Play All" option.

Birth of the Shadowman is a short featurette on the visual creation of the ghost figure that haunts the film.

Becoming Sydney has Jessica Alba discussing her role. Her violin instructor and the executive producer of the movie add a few comments too.

Shadow World: Seeing the Dead has a parapsychologist, Jessica Alba, and others discussing the concept of the movie.

The Eye: An Explosive Finale examines the pyrotechnic climax of The Eye.

While these featurettes are interesting, I would have almost preferred a commentary track with those involved in the movie, as this type of extra tends to be more insightful than brief shorts on the film.

All of these extras are on Disc One. The DVD art for The Eye sports a banner proclaiming it to be a "2-Disc Special Edition." This is a bit deceptive in the sense that the only thing Disc Two offers is a digital copy of the feature compatible with ITunes and Windows Media.

Final Thoughts:

While not a classic, The Eye delivers some solid PG-13 level frights. It's entertaining and surprisingly character-driven. Recommended.


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