It would be nice to say that Jessica Alba is stretching out as an actress, but I’m afraid the phrase would imply something far different than acting outside type. You know this movie’s a dog before walking in, mainly because Alba has been touring talk shows confessing how hard she worked to make her violin playing look real. Not only is this an inconsequential part of the awkwardly made remake of the Hong Kong horror film Jian Gui, but it fails to address the fact that most of the time the film requires her only to scream at yucky corpses and hissing demons-landing it somewhere in between The Sixth Sense and Jacob’s Ladder. That she was worried about the violin implies she already knew how to address groping minions.
The Eye is about as scary as a pancake, except for the parts where things jump out at you. And it is yet another example of Hollywood’s penchant for taking something with promise and style, something made with the creative joy a low budget inspires in hungry filmmakers, throwing middling stars into the mix, and replacing the passion with cliches (or worse, with nonsense motivations). We wonder aloud why Alba would be left alone in a swanky hospital room after showing clear signs of cracking up, or why Alessandro Nivola gets so mad at her for freaking out, just because she’s seeing things after a radical corneal transplant. We secretly assume that the anger reflects his own choice to follow up the genius of Junebug with this canine.
Of course it’s a ridiculous premise, but then again, so was The Grudge, which, if you remember, didn’t even have a premise, just a really frightening child. The real villains in this film are the two directors who opted out of creativity. They could’ve worked in a little blindness anxiety, a little Freud, maybe even a touch of humor. There were two of them. So better yet, see the original; it isn’t genius, but it’s better than a sharp stick in the eye.