Monday, 17 February 2014

The Eye 2 (2004)

The Pang brothers (Danny Pang and Oxide Pang Chun) are very talented film-makers. In fact, there was a time when The Eye was my favourite Asian horror movie, which is why I delayed watching any of the sequels for some time. I'd heard that The Eye 2 was pretty bad. Well, The Eye 2 isn't actually that bad at all. In fact, it has some very effective moments. It's not as good as The Eye, but few sequels manage to live up to the standard set by the original.

Qi Shu plays Joey Cheng, a young, pregnant woman who finds herself in a state of despair after Sam (Jesdaporn Pholdee) ends their relationship. Sam is already in a serious relationship, with Yuen Chi-Kei (Eugenia Yuan), and he's not man enough to leave her. When Joey attempts suicide, her problems really begin. Finding out that she is pregnant is bad enough, but she starts to see spirits around her. Spirits that are drawn to pregnant women, because to be reincarnated there is a need for a newborn, of course.

Taking the same mix of scares and developing backstory as the first movie, this film stumbles for a few different reasons. The first is familiarity. Yes, it's fun to feel wary whenever someone enters an elevator because of THAT elevator scene that the Pang brothers gave us in The Eye, but it also reminds you of a scare that they either can't repeat or, if they do, will end up seeing them accused of repeating their one best trick. Then we have the problem of the main characters not being as sympathetic. All of the actors do a decent job, but they're not helped by having to portray selfish, weak characters. It's only Ren Yuan Yuan as Mrs. Chow who garners any sympathy. Last, but by no means least, it just doesn't feel believable at any point. Of course, tales of the supernatural may not seem believable to most viewers, but they work better if they seem to be grounded in an acceptable reality. From the very earliest scenes, even those showing how people deal with Joey after her suicide attempt, there just didn't seem an attempt to make anything feel real.

Having listed those criticisms, The Eye 2 is still a very competent horror movie, it must be said. The Pang brothers know how to build tension and how to execute jump scares. They are skilled craftsmen, which makes this a worthwhile watch for anyone who likes a decent ghost flick. It's just a shame that it's such a big step down from the first movie. But that's not exactly an uncommon occurrence now, is it.


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