THE EYE 2
(Gin Gwai 2)
The Pang Brothers start The Eye 2 with a captivating opening. We follows Shu Qi as she buys some clothes, calls Jesdaporn Pholdee to ask his opinion about buying a brown or a green tie, gets a curt response and so signs into a hotel room where throughout the scene the emphasis is on the banality of what she is doing and then takes the sleeping pills. Just as she starts to expire, we suddenly see blurrily indistinct shapes standing around her bed.
As was the case in The Eye, the Pang Brothers give us all manner of spooky happenings littered throughout ghost shapes reflected in the water on Shu Qis bathroom floor as she gets out of the bath; the scene where Shu Qi joins a man and woman sitting in a locker room and consoles the woman who is distraught because her husband has not called, before the woman asks her who it is that she is talking to; the woman in the taxi who turns and reveals that she has a ponytail where her face should be; and especially the image of Eugenia Yuan who joltingly jumps out in front of an oncoming train at the station but cannot be seen by anybody except Shu Qi.
There is the completely unearthly scene in an elevator when the power goes out and the pregnant mother starts to go into labour and we see a figure that looks like a woman swimming underwater floating through the air, trying to make its way into the mothers womb but pulls away as the mother starts to miscarry and turns to look directly at Shu Qi. One of the weirdest scenes is where Shu Qi waits on a bus stop and a sourceless phantom voice asks her Maam what is the time? before a body of a boy falls on the street right in front of her, followed by a second body, and then the two boys lie there with blood coming out of their skulls wondering aloud My dads late home ... my head hurts. The Pang Brothers in ones opinion are some of the finest directors at the forefront of contemporary genre material and have an ability to create wildly unearthly haunted scenes that are unsurpassed by any other directors currently at work.
I thought The Eye 2 was a much superior film to The Eye. The Eye started with some genuinely spooky occurrences but allowed these to dissipate into a routine variant on the inherited memories thriller. Rather than simply repeat the same story, the Pang Brothers expand The Eye 2 out into a remarkable horror story about a pregnant woman who becomes fearful of what is trying to reincarnate in the body of her unborn child. There is a much more substantial plot here than there was in The Eye one that travels in a beautiful full circle to weave together all the elements that it raises the ghost woman who is trying to reincarnate in Shu Qis child, Jesdaporn Pholdees wife who committed suicide and the phone call that Shu Qi made to him at the very start with a dazzling cleverness. There is a wonderful ending where Shu Qi walks up to the hospital roof and jumps off to avoid the ghost woman, but survives and then drags herself bloodied up the stairs to jump again and the ghost woman appears to her to gently appeal: I beg you. Let me move on. All I want to do is forget everything. Its a moment that suddenly turns the sympathies and fears of the film around on their head.
There is a clear belief in Buddhist doctrines that runs throughout the Pang Brothers works and these get their fullest flowering here. Indeed, The Eye 2 becomes a remarkable paean by the Pang Brothers to pregnancy and reincarnation and a treatment that manages to be both thoughtful and uniquely original in terms of genre cinema. The film goes out on the haunting image of a Le Marze class with blurry souls standing waiting behind the mothers-to-be.