Column: From Strange and Distant Shores: The Eye 3 (Gin gwai 10)

By Orrin Grey

The Eye 3 (2005). Directors: The Pang Brothers. Cast: Isabella Leong, Bo-lin Chen, Kate Yeung. Country: Hong Kong.

As different as The Eye 2 was from its predecessor, The Eye 3 is a hundred times more different yet. While it keeps the basic conceit of a movie about people who gain the ability to see ghosts, and while it directly and indirectly references events from the previous two films (One of its best gags is a joke that you’d have to see the first film to appreciate), The Eye 3 otherwise couldn’t diverge farther and whether or not it works for you will probably have a lot to do with what your tolerance is for those divergences.

Known in its native land as either The Eye 10 or The Eye Infinity (despite being, in fact, the third movie to bear the title), it follows a group of five young people who, while spending a night telling ghost stories, end up following the instructions from a mysterious book that teaches them ten ways to learn to see ghosts. It starts off as a game – even though one of them sees his first ghost almost immediately – but the stakes quickly get higher.

The sequence with the kids telling the stories is one of the movie’s best bits. Not only is it a cute bit of filmmaking, it sets us up for the rest of the movie pretty well. Everything that happens in The Eye 3 is about on par with a campfire story, or an episode of a late-night horror anthology show. Only sillier.

While The Eye and The Eye 2 were both creepy and dramatic, The Eye 3 is, for most of its running time, a broad comedy. The ghosts are seen early and often, and while they’re sometimes spooky, they are more often intentionally ridiculous. There is, for instance, a scene in which a possessed character gets involved in a dance-off, which is actually one of the movie’s high points, if you’ve surrendered yourself to the film’s tone by then. Then again, there’s also a pretty prominently featured fart joke, so, y’know, it’s a mixed bag at best.

What is perhaps the oddest thing about The Eye 3 is that, while the ghosts in The Eye and The Eye 2 managed to be scary without being able to do the protagonists any real harm, the ghosts in The Eye 3 are actually far more dangerous, and the peril the characters are in much more immediate and mortal, even while the movie plays everything for laughs rather than scares.

Though some people will definitely be willing to get behind The Eye 3’s shaggy humor, I can’t say I recommend it, especially if you’re looking for something along the lines of its predecessors. Compared to them, nothing here shines. But if you’re looking for a goofy movie that plays out as almost a parody of the genre it inhabits, then you could do worse.

The Eye 3 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.