FILM THREE: THE EYE
Ok so on day two I saw the Pang brothers "The eye". I've actually seen this film advertised in the uk (no link for you work slave) and had confused it with the transgressive-pornography opus "The story of the eye" which I've read... and found so distasteful that I have no real desire to re-read it nor see a film interpretation of it. In fact I can't even describe that book here because of your stupid censor bot.
Anyway "The eye" is a Hong Kong film... (you'll remember last time we did Japan and Korea). The jist of it is "Eye see dead people" (har har har), you could be forgiven for thinking this is a pretty direct reinterpretation of sixth sense..... in fact both of today's films borrowed heavily from western cinema..... So our main character is a blind woman (and awful violinist.. unless that's her style) who has an operation to get new eyes so she can see...... little did she know... that they were CURSED EYES!!!!!!! yep seriously. The concept of the whole beginning is great, it is full of genuinely sympathetic characters and the weird theory surrounding the idea of re-learning your "Visual vocabulary", I found really interesting..
So all is going well when... She starts to see ghosts... It's worth mentioning that the effects and direction in this film are superb... but the ghost are kinda benign.. there's only one crazy ghost with a fixation on a chair who well make you jump... but that's it. Most of the first half of the film features her getting used to seeing ghosts and dealing with it as oppose to going mental all the time.... Also in this half of the film we meet "Dr. Lo" 'worlds worst psychoanalyst', who's speciality is dealing with the mental issues of people who've had eyes transplanted... His office is like a f*&king ghost town, there's probably a “Trappist Monk opera-house” that sees more business than him)... He falls in love with our girl and helps her deal with the ghosty problem...
ok ok so far if anything it's like a watered down version of the sixth sense......right?..... ok well lets gets introduced to something that's probably gonna become a theme of these films... The big twist....
So all seems good and the stupid doctor isn't a dead guy either so the weirdness starts proper when our girl can't even recognise her own face... she sees somebody else's head in its place. Turns out that some of the visions she's seen are through the eyes of this person... guess who??? THE EYE DONOR!!!! so yeah we've got to go check her out... The donor came from Thailand and it's interesting to see that the Chinese look down on Thailand the same way Japan looks down on the Chinese (i.e. Hick farmers). So we get to Thailand and start meeting other Doctors who apparently have no ethics and give away information about the donor without much persuasion, it soon becomes clear that she didn't have a great life in the village as the doctor says "Even I used to throw stones at her.... when I was younger". In fact life was so bad that she was branded a witch or devil or something and blamed for a big fire that messed everything up round here. Anyway in a massive anticlimax turns out the girl killed herself.. The main character gets the girls mum to make up with her spirit and all is good, leaving us with images of the village and the villagers now being at peace.... a strange reward for people who drove a young girl to suicide.
So on the way home on a bus in a crowded street our girl sees a whole load of reapers (oh which she sees as "Shadowy Figures" pre-empting disaster ... how see knows what a shadow is, being blind all her life... no-one knows) heading past the truck, loads in fact... The stupid Thailanders have crashed a gas truck up ahead and clearly have no idea how dangerous it is... nor how to smell that danger. Long story short she realises that this is why the girl in the village was shunned... She could see these events about to happen and in warning people about it took the blame.... Cassandra anyone? Sure enough the gas tanker explodes and kills almost everyone (alot) and we're treated to particularly graphic images of everyone nearby on fire (seriously! even a bus full of children). Luckily our girl survives... luckier still she loses her CURSED EYES... So she's blind again.... Thank you film for that pointless little stroll into your world... so all that happened to what? give a blind girl perspective?
It's a beautifully made film and the early ghosts do use both creepy and inventive film techniques it just kinda loses all real fear when she's in a restaurant, sees a ghost and her waitress confesses that she sees it too.... IN A COMPLETLY UNBOTHERED WAY! goodbye suspense....You can see why this got a big release compared to the last load of films. But in my opinion it plays it too safe.
FILM FOUR: SHUTTER
This is a Thailand film (what the hell is the noun for Thailand? the Thailandish?). I thought it'd be worth a look after seeing the borderline racism in "The Eye". It's worth mentioning that I decide which film to watch via a bunch of horror forums which allow psychopaths to come together and show off how dead inside they are "Pfff SALO? not scary or gross at all?". So when they all were in a frenzy about how truly terrifying this film is I thought "Daaaaaaaaamn... I'm gonna hafta check this out". Oh yeah and not only does this film borrow abit from western cinema but has also had an American remake.... lol irony..
So we begin at a party for someone about to get married (turns out the don't have stag do's in Thailand so it's a mixed group). It's a cleverly written scene which efficiently tells us "this is a group of close friends. they're kinda jocks. This guy's a womaniser. this guy's a sheep" etc. The guy who's kinda like a sheep is our main character, just out of uni and a freelance photographer. He and his girlfriend drunkenly drive home... while driving they hit a young girl in the road.. Being a sheep he convinces his girlfriend to drive away... BAD IDEA.... so yeah you're probably thinking what we were thinking "I know what you did last summer" yeah? WRONG! but we'll get on to that later. I'll make this one abit quicker and abit more spoiler free, it's good enough that you should probably watch it. They start to get haunted by this girl they killed. They see some of this fact in weird effects on photos taken by our man. They cannot find the body of this girl nor does any hospital have any record of anyone coming in that night... The plot starts to shift when the girlfriend (who we think the ghost is after... driver an all) starts to get lured to places.... only to find photos and items about this girl..... She was already dead.
Not to ruin it for you THEY HAD IT FUCKING COMING!
The effects are good in this... I think had I watched it alone I would have found it more terrifying than I did, The final series of images from this film are great. This has real class as a film....... Take it from me and this goes for all the films so far if a ghost girl appeared at the bottom of my bed and started to climb across it.. I would kick her fucking head off!
Both of today's films were abit more western in many ways... both seemed to take their concept from American films... Both seemed to make you jump more than disturb you... (Apart from the last half of shutter which is excellent). Every single film I've watched so far deals with women being betrayed some how (yes even JU-ON). So I'm starting to see a pattern emerging.
(Oh and watch "A Tale of two sisters" seriously it's the best film I've seen this year, I wish they'd gotten that guy to make the silent hill film... he's just beyond superb when dealing with horrifying, disturbing films..... and that's all there is in that film... no jump moments at all... not one.. all suspense and mindfuckery)
I'm still going strong with this...
Next up. BACK TO GODZILLA-LAND