The Eye 2 (Gin Gwai 2) (2004)

Evil always seeks its second chance.
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The Eye 2 (Gin Gwai 2) - Evil always seeks its second chance.

The Eye 2 is a sequel in name only. It is still directed by The Pang Brothers and still about someone afflicted with the uncanny ability to see the spirits of the dead, but that is where the similarities end. Eyes aren't really even the main focus so this feels a little like a seperate movie trying to cash in on the success of the first. The quality of the first is maintained with regards to the visuals and the quality of the directing but the story is lacklustre and doesn't bring anything to the table that hasn't already been served up by their Japanese counterparts. You could almost call this The Japanese Eye. Usually The Pang Brothers offer a little more to make their movies noticed but fail to do so in this one resulting in a just above average quality movie that is instantly forgettable.

A different approach to horror is taken with The Eye 2. There is a greater focus on the main character and her emotional tragedies but her plight isn't interesting enough to result in much depth. The first relied quite heavily on bursts of tension with a scare at the end but this one plods along much more slowly. Scares are attempted but the tension doesn't build up enough to warrant these kind of shocks and there are lengthy bouts of soap quality drama in between. The ghosts are introduced quite early on and there isn't sufficient escalation of their menace to up-the-ante as the story progresses towards its conclusion. This early onset of the supernatural makes the film lose its flow and, around 40 minute mark, it feels like a clip show of all the spooky parts from a number of similar films. The story just doesn't support the scare attempts and this makes the film drag in places as the viewer gets used to the level of shocks delivered early on. There are some potentially scary and disturbing scenes but within the context of how the film is put together they lose a lot of their impact.

The story revolves around the unbalanced Joey Cheng (played by Qi Shu, an actress that started her career in soft porn starring in movies such as Viva Erotica who has moved up the ranks to appear in movies such as Tai Chi Zero, Tai Chi Hero and The Transporter). Unable to deal with being rejected by her lover she tries to commit suicide by overdosing on prescription drugs. Failing to die she soon discovers she is pregnant. Everybody knows that near death experiences and pregnancy greatly enhance the ability to see ghosts (apparently) and she realises that she is being stalked by the spirit of her lovers betrayed wife, Yuen Chi-Kei, who was more adept at suicide. To be reincarnated, a spirit must return to the hole from whence it came and inhabit a soon to be born baby. Yuen Chi-Kei wants to raid Joey's womb like Lara Croft in a porn parody and live again through her unborn child.

There are a lot of religious subtexts here and the story does provide an interesting view on how reincarnation could work plus gives an insight (probably) into some buddhist philosophies. The less childish members of society could maybe garner more meaning and depth from the film's teachings while the rest of us may be constantly distracted by ghosts flying up vaginas.

The Pang Brothers direct a solid movie with a creepy ambience complemented by some aesthetically pleasing set pieces and atmospheric music. These aspects need to compliment a captivating story to seduce the right half of the brain and are not enough on their own. The story here is too generic to maintain engagement for any substantial length of time and fails to deliver anything intriguing now that the western world has been proliferated by asian horror and that novelty has worn off. The appearance of the overused black haired entities creeping around is sufficient evidence to accuse The Eye 2 of being an attempt to make a quick American dollar. A few years earlier this would have worked better but the standards had been set higher by 2004 and simply being culturally different isn't enough.
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