Beware the huge dead eyes of Jessica Alba
THE EYE Directed by David Moreau and Xavier Palud Starring Jessica Alba, Parker Posey, Alessandro Nivola, Tamlyn Tomita, Chloe Moretz
15A cert, gen release, 98 min WHEN reviewing American remakes of Asian horror films it is customary to adopt the posture of an easily offended maiden aunt attending a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition. “Oh, how could they!” you say, swooning theatrically.
In truth, the Pang brothers’ The Eye, a 2002 Hong Kong picture in which a blind violinist experienced terrifying visions after receiving a cornea transplant, wasn’t much cop in the first place. Still, that’s no reason to impose Jessica Alba on the unfortunate remake. Alba has the effect of deadening everything about her, so that, after a few minutes of listening to her unwavering chirrup and gawping at her huge dead eyes, the viewer can feel a little as if he has been banished to a flotation tank. We’re drifting off now. Very sleepy.
There were some good things in the original and many of them have made it into the sequel. The protagonist, seeing the world for the first time in 20 years, is unsure quite how disturbed she should be by the scurrying ghosts – perhaps everyone sees hooded maniacs outside their apartment doors – and that ambiguity allows for a novel class of unease. David Moreau and Xavier Palud, who directed the fine French horror Them, have already demonstrated a talent for exploiting unusual sound effects, and the abrasive creaks that accompany Jessica’s visions prove at least as unsettling as the computer-generated ghouls.
But even if the climax didn’t involve an overload of hokum, the lead’s characteristically one-note performance would have rendered the film stone cold, crosses-for-eyes dead. She is Jessica Alba, after all.