Column: From Strange and Distant Shores: The Eye 2 (Gin gwai 2)

By Orrin Grey

The Eye 2 (2004). Directors: The Pang Brothers. Cast: Qi Shu, Jesdaporn Pholdee. Country: Hong Kong.

The Eye is pretty much a modern classic and I’d hold it up against the best that the Asian ghost horror boom has thus far offered. Maybe, one of these days, I’ll do a column on it, but in the meantime, take my advice and check it out.

The Eye 2 is really a sequel to The Eye in name only. While it’s got a similar style, and the same central conceit of someone gaining the ability to see ghosts, none of the characters or plotlines overlaps at all. In The Eye, the protagonist’s second sight is due to a cornea transplant, whereas in The Eye 2, our main character starts seeing dead people after she tries to kill herself.

Joey Chen (Qi Shu) is in the midst of a losing affair with a married man (Jesdaporn Pholdee). Following on the heels of her failed suicide attempt comes a host of unwelcome developments. Her lover starts avoiding her calls, she learns that she’s pregnant with his child, and she starts seeing ghosts. These things, unsurprisingly, are not unrelated.

The Eye 2 isn’t the near-masterpiece that its predecessor was, but it’s a very solid ghost flick, in its own right, and it goes some very interesting places by the end. The plot is kind of a slow-starter and there really aren’t that many scares, though a few of the ones there are number among the best I’ve seen (One, in particular, at a bus stop is very good).

The Pang Brothers have made a lot of other movies, including dipping into American films, with The Messengers in 2007 and the remake of their own Bangkok Dangerous. I’ve seen only a limited assortment of their movies, but I plan to see more soon. Not everything I’ve seen by them has been great, or even necessarily all that good, but for the most part, I’ve found that they put out consistently pretty interesting and enjoyable genre product.

If you’re in the mood for a couple of good ghost stories that do things a little bit differently, I’d recommend giving both The Eye and The Eye 2 a try.

The Eye 2 is available from Amazon.com.

Bio: Orrin Grey is a skeleton who likes monsters. His stories of cursed books, mad monks and ominous paintings have appeared in Bound for Evil, Delicate Toxins, and, of course, at Innsmouth Free Press, among other places. He can be found online at www.orringrey.com.