The Eye 2 Review

Just like The Eye 10 which was to come later, The Eye 2 is more of a thematic sequel to the first film than a direct follow-up. The Pang brothers remain behind the camera, but in front are an entirely different set of actors. In this case it’s Shu Qi who occupies the lead role, here playing a young woman who following a suicide attempt discovers that not only is she pregnant, but that she also has the ability to see dead people. Needless to say, the two may be connected…

Add some Buddhist mysticism with regards to lifecycles and such, and this is all The Eye 2 has to offer on a narrative level. The Pang brothers have always been more about the audio-visual side of things than they have ideas (The Eye scraped by owing the novelty of seeing old genre clichés reinvigorated by foreign eyes), yet here us appears to be even more the case. Essentially, what we have is pretty pictures which are trying to make us jump. Indeed, there’s no denying the Pangs’ eye for composition nor their innate ability to make Qi seem desirable even at her most mentally unstable, but it simply isn’t enough. The Eye 2 may have succeed had it been able to provide enough scares, but sadly they’re almost non-existent.

Indeed, what we have is a work that refuses to develop or progress beyond its initial idea. Time and again we are simply offered another set piece in which Qi receives another visitation – and in each case the same thing happens. The soundtrack goes up a notch, Qi acts scared and everyone around her offers looks to suggest that she’s completely crazy. Certainly, it’s the kind of thing that may work on one, or perhaps even two occasions, but repeated ad nauseum it soon becomes tiresome. Quite simply, the Pang brothers don’t have the material to fill their 90 or so minutes, but instead populate it with scenes that are either elongated or severely ponderous. The sensation we get is that they came up with the final twist and then had to construct an entire film out of it – perhaps it would have been better utilised as part of a Bangkok Haunted-style anthology?

The Disc

The latest release in Tartan’s Asia Extreme strand, The Eye 2 comes to the UK DVD market as a Region 2 disc and in its full length form. Impressively, the disc doesn’t appear to be an NTSC to PAL conversation and on the whole is given a fine presentation. We get the film in its original aspect ratio, anamorphically enhanced, and taken from clean print. Moreover, the film’s precise colour scheme (lots of contrasting hot and cold colours) would appear to be faithfully recreated and the level of clarity is also fine.

As for the soundtrack, we are offered the possibility of watching The Eye 2 in DD2.0, DD5.1 or DTS mixes of the original Cantonese. According to the end credits it is the DD5.1 option which is the intended soundtrack and as such the stereo mix is rendered redundant. As for the differences between the DD5.1 and the DTS, there are few to speak of, and certainly nothing that would make those without DTS feel as though they are missing out. Moreover, all three choices are equally sound on a technical. At some points hiss is apparent, but given that this appears on all three sound mixes and taking into account the delicacy with which the Pangs approach their soundtracks, it can be presumed that this is intentional.

Extras on the other hand are decidedly minimal. As well as the expected trailer and promos for other Tartan releases, the only noticeable addition is the ‘making of’ featurette. Sadly, this proves to be of little substance and merely pads out the trailer for 13 minutes with lightweight soundbites. Indeed, you’ll learn more about Qi’s fear of heights than you will matters of more importance. As with the main feature, this piece is in Cantonese with optional English subtitles.

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