Posted: 11/23/2003


The Eye


by Alexander Rojas

This DVD is available for purchase at

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There have been accounts of people who have received organ transplants experiencing newly acquired interests or habits that have been linked to their donors. Is it possible that an organ carries specific instincts that were of its donor? Can it alter the instincts of its new host?

The Pang brothers (Bangkok Dangerous), although they don’t delve into the scientific aspects of transplants in their film The Eye, create a story of a blind young woman, Mann, who receives a cornea transplant, enabling her to see more than the world we know. As she learns to understand the visual language that did not exist for her in 18 years, Mann experiences repetitive encounters with a stoic faced child and floating bodies that roam aimlessly around her. Mann realizes that what she is seeing is not right when a dark figure appears guiding people that have just died. The only person who believes that Mann can see ghosts and foresee future events, although skeptical, is her psychiatrist, Dr. Wah. He obtains the medical record history of the corneas and soon discovers that the person who the corneas came from, a young woman named Ling, had the ability to foresee the future, only to be condemned as a witch-like figure in her small village town by the close minded villagers. Now Mann is put in a position to rest the lost soul of Ling, which will then stop Mann from seeing ghost. However, a potential catastrophic event challenges Mann to make use of her ability before it is too late.

The Eye opens with a strong potential for suspense and psychological horror. However, by the time Mann comes to understand that the transplant is making her see ghosts, the suspense loses its momentum and becomes a poorly melodramatic plot as Ling’s story unfolds. What becomes more interesting are the different depictions between Singapore and Thailand. I don’t know the economic and social status of either country, but the assumption from this film is that Singapore is made up of many young professionals with a middle- to upper-class social structure. An education is of great significance in Singapore, considering it leads to a child’s potential suicide. Several other dead youths are seen in school uniforms. Thailand however, through the point of view of the main characters from Singapore on their visit to Thailand, appears to be a country of closed-minded, paranoid, uneducated villagers. Through a series of flashbacks to Ling’s childhood, villagers despise her, branding Ling a witch for her abilities. This depiction is similar to the exotic and supernatural characteristics placed upon Native and South American indigenous groups by Hollywood films.

The Eye has managed considerable appeal outside of hardcore Asian horror movie fans, but will most likely have a short shelve life. The hype the film has received will most likely be the reason why.

Alexander Rojas is a reviewer whose plans for tonight include: popcorn, Valentina hot sauce, 6 pints of Guinness, a hot blonde and a Takashi Miike movie (Ichi the Killer I believe).

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