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The Eye 10
  |     review    |     availability     |     also see      |  
     

(left) Kate Yeung and Wilson Chen, and (right) Kris Gu and Isabella Leong.
Chinese: 見鬼10  
Year: 2005
Director: Danny Pang Fat, Oxide Pang Chun
Producer: Peter Chan Ho-Sun, Lawrence Cheng Tan-Shui, Jojo Hui Yuet-Chun, Eric Tsang Chi-Wai
Writer: Danny Pang Fat, Oxide Pang Chun, Mark Wu Yiu-Fai
Cast: Wilson Chen, Isabella Leong, Kate Yeung, Kris Gu Yu, Ray MacDonald, Bongkoth Kongmalai
  The Skinny: The Eye 10 is a disappointment compared to its predecessors, as it's too silly and inconsequential to be anything more than a minor distraction. The Pang Brothers seem to be having a good time, but whether or not that extends to the audience is another story entirely.
 
Review
by Kozo:

From haunting all the way down to marginally amusing. The Eye films, products of those wunderkind Pang Brothers, have consistently gone downhill since 2002's stellar The Eye, leading up to this year's frightfully silly The Eye 10. So what's the problem? Are the Pang Brothers only one-trick wonders? Or has the idea of seeing dead people simply run its course? The answer probably skews towards the latter, as the Pang Brothers do show enough style and verve to warrant even more money thrown at them (though maybe not in the comedy genre). Also, The Eye 10 has its merits style-wise, and the filmmakers should get some credit for trying to shake up their formula. However, if the forumla for Eye 10 is repeated ad nauseum, then Eye 11, Eye 15, or Eye 69 don't sound very appealing.

The previous Eye films had solo female leads; not this time. The Pang Brothers (who also co-wrote Eye 10 with Mark Wu) go the youth route and enlist a passel of young actors for a supposedly creepy journey to Thailand. Wilson Chen (Blue Gate Crossing, Twins Effect II) leads the pack as Ted, a typical Hong Kong slacker vacationing with cousin May (Kate Yeung of 20 : 30: 40), pal Gofei (Kris Gu), and Gofei's girlfriend April (EEG starlet Isabella Leong). The group is visiting the homeland of Thai buddy Chongkwai (Ray MacDonald), which means fun in the sun and plenty of teen hijinks. On a dark night, the quintet begin telling ghost stories, and Chongkwai offers up his special invitation: to make their own ghost stories. Duh, they agree, and the problems begin.

But not right away. Chongkwai introduces his "seeing ghosts" offer as a game, inspired by a mysterious book that he bought from a shady bookseller. The book details the "10 Encounters," i.e., the ten methods enabling humans to see ghosts. The first two are "The Case of the Cornea Transplant" and the "Case of Attempting Suicide While Pregnant" — obvious references to Eye 1 and Eye 2, complete with stock footage of Angelica Lee and Shu Qi from those films. Those two methods are not attempted by the kids, but the rest — a Ouija board, playing "Hide N' Seek" with a black cat, offering a midnight meal on the streets — are fair game, as the kids try their hardest to see ghosts and presumably scare the bejesus out of themselves.

The plan works; they see ghosts and freak themselves out, though their fright isn't translated to the audience. The ability to see ghosts seems to be completely non-threatening, which actually echoes the previous Eye movies, where the spirits were bad mojo, but nothing more. Despite their freaky, pale appearance and accompanying pulse-pounding soundtrack, the ghosts never really hurt anyone. That knowledge wasn't necessarily given in the beginning of those films, so tension and some fright was still possible, but in Eye 10 seeing ghosts seems like just a way to pass the time with your buddies. This doesn't stay true for the whole film, but even then the scares barely register.

Here's one reason why: these kids are largely uninteresting. Wilson Chen and Kate Yeung are both promising young actors, but their characters are one-dimensional and don't engender much sympathy. The most difficult part is probably given to Isabella Leong, who brings lightweight photogenic appeal to the increasingly distraught April. She gets all freaked when bad stuff starts to happen, but still not much tension is added. One problem is that the proliferation of throwaway gags and jokes that get in the way of a consistent frightening tone. Humor in horror pictures is actually welcome because it can provide some relief from the omnipresent doom and gloom. However, the jokes in Eye 10 either stretch on for way too long, or are lowbrow sophomoric stuff that would be better served in a Wong Jing movie. When the characters start farting as a way to ward off ghosts, it pretty much seals the deal; Eye 10 is a sometimes effective, but unfortunately silly motion picture.

The good stuff: production values, the overwrought and sometimes bombastic soundtrack, and even some well-directed moments. The scenes in Hong Kong where Ted and May begin to spy ghosts are vintage Pang Brothers, and echo some of the creepier moments from the original Eye. However, despite the effective direction, the scenes are completely undermined by the ultimate silliness of everything, and even the "10 Encounters" can get comical. One of the prescribed ghost-seeing methods is to bend over and look between your legs. Even in a serious horror picture, that method is probably a little too silly, but in the wacky, unaffecting world of Eye 10, it's just more silly stuff on an already egregious silly heap. Eye 11, 12, 14 or 2046 may be better, but let's hope they shake all the silly stuff out. (Kozo 2005)

 

Availability:

DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Mega Star / Media Asia
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
Also see:

The Eye (2002)
The Eye 2 (2004)

images courtesy of www.mov3.com

   
   
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