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Film / The Eye

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The Eye (aka Gin Gwai) is a 2002 Hong Kong horror film directed by the Pang Brothers, starring Angelica Lee. The film spawned three sequels (also by the Pang brothers), The Eye 2 (2004), The Eye 10, aka The Eye Infinity and sometimes referred to as The Eye 3 (2005) and The Child's Eye (2010). None of the sequels are connected story-wise, but share similar themes. There are three remakes of the first film: Adhu a 2004 Indian version, Naina, a 2005 Indian version (with the Pang Brothers completely uncredited) and The Eye, a 2008 US version starring Jessica Alba.

The first film centers around a Hong Kong violinist, Wong Kar Mun, who has been blind from a very young age, undergoing a cornea transplant to help her regain her sight. Although overjoyed at having her sight returned to her, her joy soon turns to terror when she begins to see ghosts, and a mysterious figure, whose presence seems to foretell strange deaths. After a terrifying discovery, she and her doctor's nephew (and her love interest), Dr. Wah, decide to investigate the truth behind these events, and also find out just who she received her new corneas from.

The second film follows the story of Joey (played by Shu Qi), who, after a failed suicide attempt, discovers that she is pregnant. She soon learns that attempting suicide while pregnant has granted her the ability to see ghosts. This, along with her estranged boyfriend's distant behaviour, only serves to make her more miserable, but, when she starts being followed by the spirit of a sinister-looking woman and discovering the ghost's motives, she faces a desperate struggle to save herself and her unborn child.

The third film follows the story of five teenagers who read from a book detailing ten different methods for seeing the dead. (Hence, the 10 in the film's title.) They decide to play the book's game, but, once it starts, they must finish it, or forever be haunted by ghosts.

These films provide examples of:

  • Arc Welding: The first two films have no story connections, and nothing in common save for the main character being able to see ghosts; the third ties them together by explaining that there are ten different ways a person may be able to see ghosts, and two of them were depicted in those films.
  • Berserk Button: The ghost in the calligraphy class does not approve of people sitting in her old chair.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The first film: Mun fails to prevent the disaster, everyone in the traffic jam dies, and she loses her eyes. But she's able to move on from it in the end.
    • Arguably the second film as well: Despite her constant attempts at suicide, Joey finally accepts that the spirit following her wants to be reincarnated as her daughter. She even apologizes to her baby when she gives birth to it.
  • Bungled Suicide: Joey. Several times. She overdoses on pills and comes close to death, but is saved when she is taken to hospital and has her stomach pumped. Later, she jumps off a building, and she still survives.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Inverted. Early on in the first film, Mun rejected a offer to move to Canada because she doesn’t speak English. Her lack of speaking skills is what prevents the motorists in Bangkok from evacuating before the explosion, since nobody understood her yelling in Cantonese.
  • Driven to Suicide: The "report card" kid, as well as Ling. Joey tries and fails to kill herself in the second film, more than once. In the same film, Yuen kills herself by jumping in front of a train when she learns of Sam's affair with Joey.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave - The ending of the first movie.
  • Eye Scream - Probably inevitable given the name. The U.S. remake, at the very least, includes a deleted scene where (in a vision) Sydney tries to pull out her eyes by the optic nerves and a scene near the end where we get a first-person view and a close-up of glass from an explosion penetrating Sydney's eyes.
    • There is also a close-up of glass flying into Mun's eyes at the end of the original.
    • The movie poster for the US remake has this trope in spades.
    • Although it is never shown happening, the mere idea of a cornea transplant could be considered an Eye Scream.
  • Face-Revealing Turn - The elevator scene.
  • Facial Horror: The man in the elevator has the right side of his face completely caved in. In the US remake, the face of the man in the elevator is a bloody, gruesome mess.
    • In The Eye 2, Joey goes a bit crazy and ends up biting off a man's nose. The act is never shown (Joey herself doesn't even realise she's done it until afterwards, as she blacked out during the attack), and the full damage isn't, either, but the man is shown screaming in pain with a blood-soaked bandage over his damaged nose.
  • Flatline: Happens during the flashbacks revealing that Ying Ying succumbed to her cancer.
  • Foreign Remake - The Indian and US remakes.
  • Foreshadowing: In the first film, the exorcist called to Mun's apartment block mentions that the souls of those who have commited suicide are doomed to an endless, painful cycle of repeating their own deaths, unless the issues from their lifetime can be resolved. This comes up later when Mun realises how to end the pain of Ling, who killed herself.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: A non-physical version happens in the first film, when a frustrated Wah confronts Mun about running away from her ghost problems.
  • Ghostly Goals: Largely Type A. Subverted in The Eye 2 - at first, it appears as though Yuen, the ghostly woman following Joey around, is a Type B example. As it turns out, she doesn't bear Joey any ill will and instead wishes to be reincarnated.
  • The Grim Reaper / Psychopomp: A tall, thin, pale-faced man dressed head-to-toe in black often appears to guide the souls of the recently deceased to the other side. He also never appears fully in-focus, always blurred. And, as the ending shows, there's more than one of them... apparently there exists one for every soul.
  • Half The Woman She Used To Be: When the ghost who appears in the calligraphy class launches herself at Mun, her lower half fades away.
  • Heroic BSoD: Joey is already undergoing one by the time The Eye 2 begins.
    • Mun has one in the first movie, after seeing too many ghosts for her liking: she becomes a recluse, refuses to leave her bedroom, keeps her eyes closed all the time in an attempt to mimick her past blindness and goes back to reading braille, and removes her bedroom lightbulb. She snaps out of it eventually.
  • History Repeats: Both Mun and Ling saw great tragedies they failed to prevent, albeit for different reasons:Ling's village refused to heed her warnings about the fire and Cantonese-speaking Mun wasn't able to tell the Thai-speaking motorists about the explosion.
  • Interrupted Suicide: In the second film, Joey desperately attempts to hang herself when she learns that Yuen wishes to be reincarnated in the body of her unborn child. The ghost of Yuen thwarts each and every attempt.
  • In Name Only - The two sequels.
  • Man on Fire: Mun spots the spirit of a burning man running through Ling's village, one of the victims of the huge fire that devastated the area several years previously. Later, two screaming, burning men can be seen writhing around in agony in the aftermath of the gas tank explosion. One of them dies on-screen, it is unclear what happens to the other one (his friends are desperately trying to put the flames out).
  • Meaningful Background Event: The train scene. Just watch the window behind Mun and Wah...
  • Non-Indicative Title: The Eye 10 is not the tenth installment of a long-running movie series. It's actually a movie about exploring ten different methods in seeing ghosts. In it's own series, it's only the third installment.
  • Oh, Crap!: Both Mun and Wah get this when the tanker explodes.
  • Poor Communication Kills: On the road in Bangkok, Mun sees a vision of a tank truck exploding, killing everyone within distance, and tries to warn everyone. Unfortunately, a language barrier prevent her message from getting across.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The original and US remake end with the protagonist losing her eyes again.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: The US remake has everyone in the final scene survive.
  • Spirit Advisor: Ying Ying briefly acts as one towards Mun after she passes away, telling her to be strong. After this, Mun begins to accept her newfound ability to see ghosts and is no longer afraid.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: Mun orders some food in a café, but, after seeing the ghosts of a mother and baby (who are revealed to be the wife and child of the café's owner), with the mother licking some of the food, she is understandably put off and leaves without touching her food.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Several of the first two movies' big scares are included in the trailers.
  • Unhappy Medium: Ling. Her ability to see ghosts and predict future tragedies gave her nothing but hatred and rejection from everyone in her village, who believed her to be causing the deaths herself.
  • Villainous Rescue: At one point in the second movie, Joey is attacked and knocked out by a rapist, but she is saved by the ghost, who brutally mauls the rapist, leaving his whole body covered in bandages.
  • Wham Shot: Mun (Sydney) sees a recently-taken photograph of herself and is shocked to find it does not match the face in the mirror.