Eye 10 (HK - DVD)
Five foolish friends decide to try a series of dangerous tricks to make contact with the other side and see ghosts. Needless to sa...
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Sequels often suffer the same fate as remakes: they are poorly conceived, poorly realised and poorly received (at least by the critics). There are many more exceptions than with remakes and in the realm of modern Japanese horror movies, sequels actually fair pretty well. Ringu was arguably matched if not succeeded by Ring 2 - although the third movie in the series, the prequel Ring 0, was not in the same league as the other two - and almost the same thing can be said of the Eye franchise.
The original Eye movie (about a woman who starts seeing visions after she has new corneas transplanted onto her eyes) was clever, well directed and suitably scary. The sequel, Eye 2, introduced us to new characters and a completely different story (that was not quite as related to the title as the first) and managed to succeed on many levels as a competent and enjoyable horror (not least because it starred the gorgeous Shu Qi from the first Transporter movie). Now we get a third movie, the Eye 10. Can it possibly prove viable in its own right or is it merely yet another sequel that does not deserve to even carry the same name as its predecessors?
Eye 10 follows a completely new group of individuals, this time a bunch of teen friends who are more than a little interested in the occult. There's Chongkwai, the leader of the gang, the childish Kofei, the pretty April, and the cousins, Ted and May. Starting small by telling each other different ghost stories (all of which are played out), we get a couple of interesting, scary ideas but also a few comical moments that do not sit well with the purported horror content of this movie which is, at best, mild. Anyway, intrigued by the 'other side' and all desperate to actually see the apparitions that they read, they find a book that purports to teach ten different ways to enable humans to see ghosts.
The various methods are mostly really silly and really easy, ranging from bending over and looking back between your legs to see what is behind you, to having a late dinner, but nevertheless they proceed through them and, whaddya know, they work! Comb your hair in front of a mirror at midnight and, all of a sudden, you are face to face with a bunch of demons. If you suspend disbelief enough to be fooled by all that (which, admittedly, is a prerequisite for many horror movies) then there is no way that you could understand why these kids keep going through the different methods in their book - not once bad things start happening to them at least! Of course when one of them goes missing, the tables turn and it becomes imperative that they go over to the other side to save the missing member but instead, they disband and go their own separate ways. Will they come together under a united front and get to the bottom of this curse that appears to have befallen them?
Eye 10 is a disappointing third instalment in the otherwise solid Eye franchise. The plot is positively comical - and not when it intends to be either - the acting is pretty shoddy, with some of the cast members themselves unable to take their lines seriously or deliver them convincingly, and the direction patchy, with a few clever scary effects but mostly cheap-looking improvisations. Perhaps the rule about inferior second sequels ( Infernal Affairs, Ring etc.) has its exceptions (I cannot think of any) but this is not one of them.
Eye 10 is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio anamorphically enhanced widescreen transfer that varies in terms of quality mainly due to the filmmaking techniques employed. Although largely good, with solid detail, no softness, no noticeable edge enhancement and with negligible grain - for the most part - there are a few scenes which look simply terrible, namely, the 'ghost' sequences. The end result is that it looks like we are watching zombies through a nightscope, with heavy grain and shoddy detail. It would have worked well as a way of portraying the demons but unfortunately there are other scenes where the effects are much more polished, making these bits seem completely out of place - like they had run out of money. Anyway, overall it is quite a good transfer, and it certainly did not exhibit any print defects in the way of dirt or scratches.
Eye 10 is presented - as is often the case with Asian releases - with two solid six speaker surround sound tracks: a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix and a DTS 5.1 effort. Both are near identical although the DTS mix is admittedly slightly more potent. The dialogue is presented largely from the frontal array, the screams coming across as particularly powerful, but the most significant aspect is the score which pounds out across the surrounds. It's a must faster, more frenetic soundtrack than for the previous titles in the series, but it also has some silly moments during the unnecessary comical bits in the film which just annoy. The subtitles are not bad - they are not the best I have seen, with some terrible phonetic spellings of words - but at least you can understand the majority of what is going on.
First up we get a making-of documentary that is split into two parts, each about eight minutes' long. Thankfully they are both subtitled in English - something quite unusual for extras on many Asian releases, so it was a joy to have them here. The directors talk about the story, trying to make it sound good when it is slightly poor. On the plus side we get some interesting behind the scenes footage of the movie being filmed and the cast and crew goofing around so it is probably worth giving a look to.
The theatrical trailer gives you an idea of what this film is like - it might be an idea to watch this before committing to a purchase.
There is a text statement that merely states: "Led by a Thai friend, four young people start to play the tricks to see ghosts. They start with the most ordinary way to explore the creepy world." The back cover of the DVD is also adorned with this statement and it is gratingly poor English.
Finally we get a list of the ten methods: "The Case of the Cornea Transplant, The Case of Attempting Suicide Whilst Pregnant, The Spirit in a Glass, The Late Dinner Alert, Playing Hide and Seek, The Special Eye Mask, The Umbrella of Darkness, The Between the Knees Peek, The Midnight Comb-Thru and The Funeral Frontier: Death the Funeral Attire."
Eye 10 is not a worthy addition to the franchise, although some may be able to enjoy the unintentional humour of the antics that go on in this lacklustre sequel. The video and audio seem pretty good and the extras, whilst minimal, are at least subtitled. I must suggest a rental before considering a purchase but, that said, this release is quite a reasonably priced affair if you fancy taking a risk.
You can buy this title for US $9.99 from Yesasia.com.
Review by Casimir Harlow
Not suitable for young persons and children
Release Date: 19th May 2005
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Cantonese , DTS 5.1 Cantonese, Dolby Digital 5.1 Mandarin
Subtitles: Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, English
Extras: Text Notes, Making-Of Featurette, Trailer
Easter Egg: No
Director: Pang Brothers
Cast: Wilson Chen, Isabella Leong, Kate Yeung
Length: 84 minutes
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