The Eye
Special Edition

Starring: Anjelica Lee and Lawrence Chou
Tartan Video Asia Extreme
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 23 August 2004

Mun, a young woman in Hong Kong, who has been blind since the age of two, undergoes a cornea transplant. After the operation she is told by the doctor it will take some time for her eyes and brain functions to work in tandem, but that her eyes will gradually improve. One night in the hospital she wakes to see a dark shape at the bed of the old woman next to her in the ward. The shape leads the old woman away, and the next morning a nurse announces that she passed away in the night. Later, when she is being driven to her mother's apartment to recouperate, she sees a man standing in the middle of the road. At the apartment building itself a boy asks her for his missing report card; a boy nobody else can see. Many other frightening experiences lead Mun to the edge of insanity, until her eye surgeon, Dr Lo helps her to discover the reason for her sightings...

I recently compiled a list of my top ten films of all time, in an attempt to procure them all on DVD (for anybody who might be remotely interested, I now possess seven of the ten). Receiving this movie to review reminded just how much I love it. The Eye made quite an unexpected impact on me when it hit selected cinemas in the UK. Due to the fact it wasn't on general release I was obliged to go out of my way to find it, but it was well worth the inconvenience. In my humble opinion The Eye is an unrecognised masterpiece. Watching it again a couple of times since its theatrical release has only confirmed my belief that it deserves many accolades and is certainly justified a position in my personal all-time greats. I now have eleven films in my top ten!

Why is it so good? I hear you ask. Well, although it contains English subtitles they are always clear and too few to distract you from the enjoyment of watching the film. The pacing is spot on; there's no padding here, and the jolts and revelations are evenly spread throughout the running time, keeping you both hooked and spooked. The music score is intelligently utilised, enhancing the emotional ups and downs of plotline events, but never once spoiling the sponteneity of a fright. Aside from the last major scene, The Eye is simply and effectively filmed; indeed, many of the early parts are merely blurred images seen through the eyes of the cornea transplant patient, Mun. But these are genuinely creepy moments, believe me.

For some years now the makers of horror movies have been forced to use other means to produce a reaction from hardened audiences. This is normally achieved with shock tactics, either with increasingly violent gore-fests, or with cop-out loud noises and suddenly slamming doors. The Eye gets back to what horror films should be all about: scaring the hell out of people with a good story, inducing goose pimples and spine tingling. It's no exaggeration to say this is the creepiest film I have ever seen and, unlike the classic The Exorcist, you enjoy watching it. The front blurb on the original DVD cover makes inevitable comparisons with The Sixth Sense, but although there are minor similarities, I think The Eye is a much better film.

And now the strange bit. This is the second release on DVD for The Eye, but this version is supposed to be the Special Edition. That's where the confusion lies. Granted, this release has improved picture and sound quality (with the option of Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 EX Surround, and DTS-ES 6.1 Discrete Surround), but the only other extras are trailers. Where are the extras which were on the original release (Making of... Documentary, Pang Brothers Documentary, Promotional Art Gallery, Star and Director Filmographies, Justin Bower Film Notes)?

I'm reliably informed by our illustrious and all-powerful editor that there is not a missing disc, so my complaint is why not the additional features? If this is an oversight it's a pretty serious one, and mars what would have been the perfect release.

The film itself deserves an unquestionable 10, but for forgetting those extras it's lucky to drop only one point.

Ty Power

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