The Eye 2 (2004)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2015-09-08
Summary: Not that scary
“The Eye 2” has a lot going for it—a bravura performance by Shu Qi who, after 8 years in front of the camera and 52 movies was capable of carrying a film; a propulsive score by Payont Term Sit that doesn’t intrude but underlines some of the scary moments and crisp, almost minimalist cinematography by Decha Srimantra. Sit and Srimantra are long time creative associates of the Pang brothers, having shot and composed most of their movies. With both Pang brothers behind the editing bench, “The Eye 2” had the look and sound that they wanted.

What it didn’t have was a coherent script. Plenty of exciting scenes, enough “what the hell was that” moments and a frightening enough set of ghosts were wasted because the story just dragged along and went nowhere, finishing with a limp redemption through childbirth ending. Just when one began to care about Joey Cheng, whether she would make it through her pregnancy (or even the next ten minutes of the movie) the script wandered off into an odd limbo of action without meaning.

Joey tried to kill herself four times—at least four, I might have missed a few. Things begin with her in a hotel room taking an overdose of sleeping pills and washing it down with a few glasses of whiskey. Many people that die under those circumstances, either accidentally or by their own hand, wind up choking on their own vomit. She wakes up enough to roll over and not asphyxiate herself. She throws up and we see Joey in the emergency room having her stomach pumped. Shu Qi even looks good with a tube down her nose. She also tried to hang herself—too clumsy, fell off the chair before getting the noose secure and jumping onto the subway tracks in front of an MTA train, where Hong Kong commuters grabbed her before she could delay things. The fourth attempt was leaping from the roof of the hospital. This was really a few attempts since after landing with a thud Joey was able to painfully (very, very painfully) make her way up the stairs to the roof and do it again. After the last attempt the ghost she kept seeing hissed in her ear that she would never allow Joey to die. Oops—stuck in the worst situation possible for a Buddhist, unable to die and be reincarnated, stuck in the present wretched life forever. Probably as bad as other cinematic versions of Avici hell in which one is killed only to be returned to the time, place and state of mind before his death only to die in exactly the same way. Forever.

Joey gets some wisdom from a Buddhist master who tells her the ghosts are just trying to get home, to work off the karma they had built up in past lives, lives of which they have no memory. This is cold comfort because the ghost that really terrifies her and who seems to have some control over her is the spirit of the wife of her lover, a very vengeful spirit who simply isn’t going away. The former lover is a self-pitying lout who didn’t deserve the love either of Joey or of his wife, played as person with an infuriating lack of understanding of any consequences of his actions by Jesdaporn Pholdee.

Everyone else is a cipher—there a few funny turns, one by the MTA clerk who says he doesn’t have to answer Joey’s question about how many suicides have been at that station because “he is new on the job.” Another happens when the Pang brothers tease the audience. Joey is taking a shower and slips as she is getting out of the “Psycho” level shower stall. Joey would be naked, Shu Qi would not but the audience (at least this part of it) was more interested in how a ghost was going to manifest itself than in the potential flash of nudity from Shu Qi.

Not really a horror movie, more of a suspenseful journey through a familiar world that has been turned inside out and is now threatening and full of sinister surprises, a place that the Pang brothers have visited often since “The Eye 2” to better effect.
Reviewer Score: 6