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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this creepy horror film (which stars teen favorite Jessica Alba) features many suspenseful scenes full of ghosts, dead people, and shadows; these sequences are made scarier by the way the camera emulates Sydney's blurry vision. Violence includes explosions and fires in which people are burned. A brief scene shows Alba in the shower from the shoulders up, with her arm covering her breasts; another angle shows her crouched figure through a blurry door. Language is unusually mild for a PG-13 film.
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What's the story?
Blind since childhood, concert violinist Sydney (Jessica Alba) gets a cornea transplant and promptly begins seeing the same fearsome visions (warnings of deaths, visits from ghosts, etc.) that troubled the donor. Feeling abandoned by her loving but rarely available sister (Parker Posey) and increasingly unable to differentiate between her nightmarish visions and new glimpses of a daunting material world, Sydney seeks help from her therapist, Paul (Alessandro Nivola), and her conductor/mentor, Simon (Rade Serbedzija). Neither man is helpful, so Sydney sets off on her own, researching possible causes and then seeking the donor, who turns out to be a young Mexican woman named Ana (Fernanda Romero). Eventually, Sydney heads to Mexico with Paul; their efforts lead to a resolution, but not without costs.
Is it any good?
Yet another remake of a popular Asian horror film (2002's Gin gwai), THE EYE is long on smart camerawork, short on intelligent dialogue, and undone by a finale that's more hectic than ironic. After the action moves to Mexico, the film lurches from a particular type of spooky flick (shadows and blurs, fear of the unknown) into something more banal: a cautionary tale about crossing the border. The self-involved, privileged Sydney pays scant attention to the violence and poverty that make up life in the pueblo, convinced that her salvation, her reclamation of her life, is the most important thing.
The film's visual tricks are plainly indebted to the Hong Kong original, full of effectively distorted figures and shadowed hallways. But once the line is clearly drawn between subjective and objective worlds, the film pretty much collapses.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the many U.S. remakes of Asian horror movies. How do these moody, strange films translate for American audiences? Why do you think their focus on spirits and hauntings is so popular? How do you think the remakes are similar to and different from the originals? Families can also discuss why Sydney might "miss" her blindness, even without the ghostly visitations?
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