No more than meets 'The Eye'

Chicago Tribune

The most vivid aspect of "The Eye" is its poster image, that of a huge female eye with a human hand gripping the lower lid from the inside.

The least vivid aspect is the way Jessica Alba delivers a simple line of dialogue. Talking to the secretive Mexican mother whose late daughter's peepers have ended up in Alba's skull in a corneal transplant, the actress strives for conversational but ends up sounding a little sleepy. "Did Ana ever . . . see things she couldn't explain?" Alba asks. During the " . . . " part she seems to have forgotten the question.

It's not a bad film, just functional and relatively tasteful (talk about horror-related mixed blessings). The 2002 Hong Kong version of "The Eye" laid out a clear blueprint for screenwriter Sebastian Gutierrez and directors David Moreau and Xavier Palud.

Alba plays a violinist blinded in a firecracker-related childhood accident. Post-transplant, she's haunted by scarifying dreams as well as waking visions of phantoms, wraiths, people hurling themselves at the camera and flames, flames, all the time flames. Alessandro Nivola plays a skeptical yet sensitive doctor.

Spoiler alert! The Hong Kong version's climactic inferno is replaced by a happier, less corpse-strewn ending. If you have 12-year-olds in the house, they're better off seeing this passably crafted plodder than any number of more venal or torture-prone exercises.


"The Eye." MPAA rating: PG-13 for violence/terror and disturbing content. Running time: 1 hour, 37 minutes. In general release.

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