Film’s mediocrity is in ‘the eye’ of the beholder

Chris Kallio

Courtesy Lionsgate Films

Credit: Ron Soltys

The Eye

Directed by: David Moreau and Xavier Palud

Starring: Jessica Alba, Alessandro Nivola and Paker Posey

Released by: Lionsgate

Stater rating (out of five): **

Often films born of mediocrity eventually start to decline to far worse. The Eye does just that, containing a moment or two of potential, but ultimately sliding back into mediocrity.

The film, adapted from a 2002 Chinese movie, stars Jessica Alba as Sydney, a talented violinist who has grown up blind until a corneal transplant operation brings back her sight. What she discovers, however, is that apparently she has the ability to see what the previous owner of her eyes could see — dead people.

But Sydney is in the position where simply telling people that she is seeing weird things just does not explain the situation well. Afterall, she has been blind for the vast majority of her life. Throughout the movie, Sydney sees a mixture of odd things — the dead being escorted to the afterlife (in scenes desperate to be in Ghost), events of the past and deaths of the future, only finding solitude and comfort in the dark. This is primarily where the film’s silliness comes from: The idea that an eye transplant gives access to such imagery, and apparently, gives her the ability to change fate. But if one can get through that idea, one will still be disappointed.

The film starts with awful exposition accompanied by awful dialogue only made worse through Alba’s delivery, and the question is raised whether Alba possesses actual talent. If she does, she has not exactly demonstrated it. So far, her only terrific film has been Sin City, in which she had a minor role. She has some fine moments here and there, looking scared and crying, and therefore it can not be determined if her miserable dialogue or her actual delivery should be blamed.

But to give credit where credit is due, some scenes are genuinely scary with plenty of jump-out-at-you moments, and it successfully plays on the fear of the unusual. These moments are effective, but eventually become hackneyed to the point where the audience can be pleased by the scary moments, yet not necessarily appreciate them. The Eye relies simply on these moments of screams, kids with creepy voices, uncomfortable moments involving eyes and lame CGI effects. Therefore this movie, like many modern American horror films, contains nothing exceptionally scary.

Contact all reporter Chris Kallio at [email protected].