The Eye ...Infinity

Starring: Chen Po Lin, Isabella Leong, Kate Yeung and Kris Gu
Tartan Asia Extreme
RRP: 19.99
TVD 3662
Certificate: 15
Available 23 October 2006

Four teenagers from Hong Kong visit a friend in Thailand and spend a night frightening each other with ghost stories and attempting to contact spirits. When one of them later discovers an ancient book in a dusty little shop, purporting to explain the ten ways to see a ghost, they decide to try them out. After a few sessions things begin to go seriously wrong. One of their number simply vanishes from the woods and fails to be found by a police search party, and another of them becomes a terrified and isolated recluse. Two of them flee back to Hong Kong, but the ghosts follow, appearing with increasing regularity. It seems that they won't be allowed to forget, and only journeying to Thailand once more to face the dead can reveal what has happened to their friends...

This is the third film in The Eye series to come from the Pang Brothers, each being stand-alone but attempting to go in a slightly different direction. The original stands as one of my all-time favourite movies, simple in its structure, but brilliantly effective. It has sold in excess of 25,000 DVD copies, which proves it isn't just me (buy yourself a copy now - what are you waiting for?). The Eye 2 tackles suicide in pregnancy and reincarnation. It is enjoyable and creepy, but does not have the impact of its predecessor. Now we have The Eye... Infinity (a.k.a. The Eye 10, which refers to the ten ways to see a ghost), which is a strange brew indeed because some scenes work and others fail.

The first problem is the inherent humour. The Pang Brothers would have benefited the script by omitting it altogether; unless the balance is precise it just doesn't work in a horror movie. When one of the teens is taken over by a ghost and jerks along an apartment building corridor, two local lads feel challenged and begin to break-dance as if it's a competition. In this instance the attempt at light relief steals away any suspense which may have already built. In this film it only works on one occasion. When the book is purchased, the wizened old shopkeeper warns the young purchaser that whatever he does he should not look at the last page. That night the pages of the book are blown open by the wind, and the teenager slaps his hand on the page to prevent it revealing itself. Then, overcome by curiosity, he peeks at the page... only to discover the book is priced more cheaply than he was sold it for.

Keep it simple is the name of the game. Parts of the structure of Infinity becomes unnecessarily complicated. This is due to factors such as too many people running around, rushing through the instructions of the book to reveal ghosts in ten different ways (from Thai rituals), and a multitude of dark and blurred ghostly forms. This is most definitely overkill - as if because using one of these forms in The Eye worked really well, it somehow makes sense to use a hundred in this film. It doesn't.

As for the rituals themselves, the first two ('adapt the sight of the dead', and 'through suicide during pregnancy') are direct references to the previous two films in this trilogy. In fact, the dead boy asking for his missing report card, and the lift full of ghosts are also reused. Some of the other rituals include: bending over and looking between your legs (a custom in Thailand performed during funerals held in temples - if you want to see your departed relatives); smudging the soil from buried coffins on your eyes; opening an umbrella inside a building (apparently, a ghost can hide your shade and follow you home); and tapping non-stop with chopsticks on a bowl (to attract hungry ghosts).

In conclusion, there are some good ideas here, but Infinity is suffering from the desperate need for a good film editor who could drop the parts which don't work and tighten this up into a force to be reckoned with. On a final note, I hear that in 2007 an American version of the first brilliant film is going to be made. All I can say is "Noooooo!!!"

Ty Power

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