Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Movie Review: The Eye 2 (2004)

The Eye, a Chinese supernatural horror film from 2002, has always seemed like one of the most underrated of the Asian horror films - perhaps outshined by its similar counterparts like Ringu and Ju-On (and their American remakes). I have never forgotten The Eye and in particular its spectacular ending that makes it all the more memorable. Now I've finally watched the sequel and though it has a bit of a different feel than the original, it is still a highly enjoyable spooky flick - especially if you're me and love ghosts as much as I do.

Joey Cheng is a young woman who attempts suicide over another failed relationship. Soon after, she not only finds out that she is pregnant, but that she is also now able to see spirits all around her. Fearing that one of these spirits wishes to take over the life of her unborn child, Joey must find out who she is and how to to get rid of her before she gives birth.

My first reaction to The Eye 2 is simply "YES." Hell yes, even, because this is exactly what I want to out my ghost movies. This is the kind of supernatural activity I want to see, and this is the kind of story that I want to see play out. Also, The Eye 2 is not a true sequel to The Eye - a true sequel being one that continues the original story in some way. The only thing these two really have in common is the name and a chick who can see ghosts. She has "the eye," or something I guess. Not that I cared too much about that while watching the movie because I think The Eye 2 is certainly good enough to stand on its own.

Some of the ghostly phenomenon is stuff that we've seen many times before. The movie makes it work because it understands the concept of timing and suspense. Things like a door that opens and closes again on its own after Joey walks through it, a picture flying off the shelf, even simple jump moments like just a random ghost turning up unexpectedly when Joey turns around are all highly effective at getting the spooky mojo flowing. The image of when Joey first sees the ghosts, when she is on the brink of death at the beginning, and the final image of some ghosts in another room were the only things I didn't like so much because they had this stupid shaky, gray, digital effect thing to them that looked really hokey. Other than that though, all the ghosts appear as regular people, with only a little bit of "dead" makeup.

Asian horror is known for providing some very unsettling images that stay with the viewer for a long time. No-Jaw Woman from The Grudge still terrifies the fuck out of me. When these ghosts take over the bodies or lives of babies in this movie, it seems to happen right at the moment of birth, and we get an in-your-face representation of just what that looks like. Joey, some nurses, and a woman in labor get stuck in an elevator at the hospital and the woman must deliver right there. A ghost woman comes floating down from the ceiling, her body very stiff and straight, and she slowly heads towards... well, between the woman's legs. Too freaky. Other good ghost stuff includes the freak-ass ghost woman in the taxi cab and the two (not real) bodies that fall from the sky while Joey is at the bus stop. Really nice effects work on them as they just lay there, half their heads squished flat on the pavement, in a huge pool of blood, talking to Joey and freaking her out. I really wish I could have found a picture of that scene, because DAMN.

Toward the end of the movie, more of what the story is really about comes out and this is where The Eye 2 sold itself for me. Joey gets an endoscope procedure done and she can see her baby's face - which she recognizes as one of the ghosts she saw earlier in the film that jumped in front of a train. While researching her newfound ability, the belief in reincarnation comes up. You're thinking all along that all of these ghosts Joey sees have some sort of sinister intention with invading the lives of these babies but the ending shows us that that is not at all true. Despite them trying to fit in one last scary image before the credits, the ending is actually a very happy one. That might be a disappointment to some from a horror film but within the scope of this particular story, it totally works and is actually a nicer way to end this kind of film rather than just banishing the ghost or whatever. There's a real message and belief to this story, and if you believe what they are talking about, it makes you feel a lot better about the possibility of life after death.

I didn't have too much hope for The Eye 2 when I first started watching it because I'd never heard it mentioned anywhere else before, but it ended up really surprising me. The lead actress is wonderful and carries the film exceptionally well, the direction is perfect, and it scared me a couple times. Big win for me! Watch The Eye 2 for the good ghostly stuff, but definitely stay for the really nice ending.


  1. I remember this! I remember being freaked out by that Ultrasound scene. Suck to be the younger me, watching this movie. At night. Alone. Days after my Gramma passed away... did I mentioned I was alone in my late gramma's house at night? (what was I thinking?!)

  2. I really enjoyed the first one! I didn't want to check it out since I saw it on Netflix but like you, I didn't have high hopes for it! But since you said it surprised you, I'll give it a go!