The Eye

The Eye (2008)
Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Cast: Jessica Alba, Alessandro Nivola, Parker Posey
Extras: Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Theatrical Trailer, Digital Copy

Originally, "The Eye" was an Asian horror film that was actually quite successful in its own right, and with this new American version we actually have a film that is written and directed by a couple of French filmmakers named David Moreau and Xavier Palud. They bring their stylish sense of mood to what would otherwise be another disastrous entry in the horror genre of a film that never should have been re-made.

A beautiful and young concert violinist named Sydney Wells (Jessica Alba) was blinded in a childhood accident, but when a new procedure called an eye transplant is performed on her, she starts to see things that shouldn't be as well as having some disturbing nightmares literally from the moment her bandages come off. Having her sister Helen (Parker Posey) come in from out of town to help her readjust doesn't really help matters.

Convinced she must be losing her mind when several bizarre hallucinations involving people long deceased and creatures from the spirit world who escort them after they pass on, she pleads with her specialist physician Dr. Paul Faulkner (Alessandro Nivola) to tell her where the donor of the eyes is from. Although it is against the rules, he decides to help her anyway, and they travel to Mexico to track down the donor, and what they discover is a secret best left alone.

Although the film does have an effectively creepy atmosphere and features a couple of thrilling sequences, it doesn't really stand out even for a re-make and is really eventually pretty forgettable. The performances are simply adequate, although Alba proves that she can do horror effectively. Thankfully, the film didn't have any creepy little Asian zombie girls twitching away like music video extras and stalking the main characters. Instead we have digital creatures from the spirit world.

The transfer is actually quite solid on this Blu-ray release, featuring some very effective uses of shadow and black levels that are also quite effective. The details are always very sharp and the images often pop off the screen. Featuring an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the film simply looks great in 1080p, as it should, being a brand new release of a new film. The scenes of horror and mayhem are also quite effectively reproduced and certainly hold up very well. I also didn't notice that edge enhancement became an issue, and fans of the film will find this Blu-ray version is the version to own.

The sound arrives with a very boisterous sounding English 7.1 DTS HD Master Audio that rocks the house; but be warned, this is another one of those films where things go from quiet to loud very quickly and it can be a little jarring, to say the least. Featuring a very wide sound field the surrounds are utilized quite effectively. We also get plenty of low end from the subwoofer, and the filmmakers used the soundtrack to disturbing effect during a couple of key sequences. The music is also very well balanced and the dialogue is very clean sounding and always audible. All in all, a very impressive track.

Most of the special features are in high definition, which is always a plus, although they are standard fare, as expected. The only feature that is in Standard Definition are the 'Deleted Scenes', which features eight scenes, none of which offers any extra special effects or anything very interesting at all, you can certainly see why they ended up on the cutting room floor.

'Shadow World: Seeing The Dead' is an oddity. It runs about nine minutes and features Alba and the makers of the film as they inform us on some very strange case histories about eye transplants with some very strange outcomes. Very strange indeed, especially since I had never heard of this phenomena.

'The Eye: An Explosive Finale' runs about six minutes and follows the making of the final climactic scene, pretty interesting if you are into explosions and how they are done on a film set.

'Becoming Sydney' features Jessica Alba explaining how she prepared for her portrayal of a blind woman, and 'Birth Of A Shadowman' is a very short feature on the evil menace featured in the film. We also have a digital copy of the film on a second disc, for those of you who would like to carry the film in your pocket on a portable device, a feature I quite like.

While "The Eye" may not break new ground, perhaps die hard fans of the genre may consider this a rental, otherwise this film may be something you may want to pass up, although the Blu-ray certainly recreates the theatrical experience quite effectively.