THE EYE 3
Reviewed by: Dave Murray
What's it about
A group of friends are having a fun night, using the ten descriptions in an old book to try and see ghosts. But when one of them goes missing, hidden by ghosts that no one can see, they all become haunted by the things from our own world that stalk us and follow in every footstep we take. At turns funny, at times terrifying, and above all else entertaining, the Pang Brothers complete their acclaimed horror series with style and tongue-in-cheek fun.
Is it good movie?
Now, it's not as good as the first two entries, but at least it's better than the Jessica Alba remake! Not that this is saying much, because The Eye 3 is a well made movie by two filmmakers who know how to do singular Asian horror very well (their one American flub notwithstanding). What makes this one outstanding, however, is that it's spoof of Danny and Oxide Pang's The Eye movies, directed by the Pang Brothers themselves! The idea of these guys, who are quite off the wall to begin with, lampooning their own work while still managing some really scary moments, is a tasy concept. Nice job, indeed, and despite the goofiness (or maybe because of it?) they hooked me in and kept me watching.
Now while I'll never understand U.S. marketing. Lionsgate dubs this one The Eye 3 while it is in fact the tenth installment of the original Asian horror series, making it Gin gwai 10. The whole numbering scheme of Asian series' seriously f*cks with my brain, just like British TV does. This is number ten, released in 2005, when the third installment is being made this year. And this movie is being marketed as part three (since we poor folk have only ever seen the first two), and has already been released under another title, Missing? I'm confused now. But this major confusion doesn't detract from the flick, which is funny as hell, and scarier than most.
The movie wastes no time in rushing through the setup and getting to the goods. This comes off as a more stylized spoof than the Scary Movie franchise, but still has some pretty goofy moments (such as the kids luring some drooling hungry and dopey ghosts to a midnight meal) and a good deal of humour. As well, some scenes manage to be fairly unsettling, while still setting the accepted conventions of Asian ghost movies soundly on their ears. The ghosts are convincing and spooky in most cases, and the chilling horror is a nice balance to the laughter, making this quite the watch. The effects are top notch, and the actors, while at times a little annoying and stunned, are for the most part ok in their roles. Halfway through, when the scares get ramped up a little, the Pang Brothers style really shows. While not as intense or horrific as the first two movies, this one has its charm as well, and it stands on its own as both a spoof and a legitamate entry into a venerable horror franchise.
Not that everything is perfect here. The Chinese dubing is attrcious and annoying, and makes me wonder what language this was originally in. Like I said, some of the performances were weak, and the goofy ghosts were a little too goofy at times. But the movie delivers laughs and creeps in equal measure. And since I dig anything these two guys make, this movie was a rocking good time all around. Not perfect, but close!
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen - 1.78:1. The flick looks a little grainy and a lot like a video dub, but it's all good in the end, because it was easy to watch and enjoy.
Audio: Chinese (Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0) with subtitles in English and Spanish. Am I the only weirdo who's ever watched an Asian flick with Spanish subtitles just to see how lost I can get. Yep, I guess I am. Creepy. Again, the sound is a little muddled, like the picture, so this was probably not the most attractive transfer for Lionsgate to release.
Although a commentary from the Pang Brothers would have been sweet, all we have here are two featurettes. The first, titled Ten Ways To See Ghosts breaks down the folklore and urban legends that surround the ten methods of spying spooks seen in the film. It's an interesting watch, and as far as documentary bits go, this one is a fascinating little look behind the story of the film. This is followed by the standard Making Of Featurette, which is nothing new, but it is cool to see some of the behind the scenes stuff, especially involving two intense and creative directors. The production looks grueling, but it also looks like it was a blast. Rounding out the disc are some Lionsgate trailers, including...yep, you guessed it, the American remake of The Eye! Weak, man, even if Jessica Alba is in it.
This scary and funny spoof by the Pang Brothers of their own The Eye movies is a clever and entertaining riff on the whole of Asian horror cinema. Despite some goofiness and an annoting dub job, they pulled off another excellent entry into an already exceptional example of the oriental spook subgenre. By making fun of themselves and their fellow filmmakers, the Pang Brothers have proved that not only is their own work not sacred, but also that sometimes we shouldn't take things too seriously. And anyone who can inject this much creepiness into what is essentially a comedy is tops in my book. Here's hoping they don't remake this one after the inevitable The Eye 2 remake. Can you just see it? A remake of a spoof that is also a spoof. If they make it a spoof of remakes as well, that would be inspired. But for now, leave this one alone. As always, the original is good enough.