Review: THE CHILD'S EYE 童眼 (2010) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Review: THE CHILD'S EYE 童眼 (2010)

Review: THE CHILD'S EYE 童眼 (2010)

While vacationing in Bangkok, six Hong Kong travelers -- Rainie (Rainie Yang), Ling (Elanne Kwong), Ciwi (Ciwi Lam), Hei (Izz Hu), Rex (Rex Ho) and Lok (Shawn Yue) -- find themselves in the midst of political unrest and chaotic riot all over the street that they are unable to get past the airport to head home. Instead, they end up stranded in a rundown Chung Tai Hotel and forced to lay low for a time being until the riot subsides. Once there, they immediately sense something is not right with the hotel, beginning with the curious appearance of three kids and a little dog. More unexplained circumstances continue especially when Rainie sees a female ghost and Ling finds a hovering hand trying to grab her during the daylight riot outside the hotel. Then it gets worse from there -- Rainie's estranged boyfriend, Lok, in which both of them are suffering in the verge of break-up, is mysteriously disappeared and so the rest of the three men. With the aid of the little girl and her little dog named Little Huang which capable of seeing ghost, Rainie leads the girls to locate their disappearances around the hotel's underground passages and subsequently learn about the appearances of a female ghost (Jo Koo) and a strange dog-human mutant hybrid. Added to the mystery is the gimpy and grouchy hotel owner, Chuen (Lam Ka-Tung) who seemingly has to do with a series of strange occurrences.

REVIEW: Like it or not, it seems that the Pang brothers still haven't grown tired of their increasingly inferior "EYE" horror series. After beginning life with their 2002's phenomenally successful THE EYE, which starred the incomparable Angelica Lee and to some extent, a better-than-average follow-up -- 2004's THE EYE 2 (which starred Shu Qi in one of her best dramatic roles) before the franchise turned officially sour with the curiously-titled THE EYE 10 (2007). In this fourth entry titled THE CHILD'S EYE, the Pang brothers have upped their ante by (proudly) creating Hong Kong's first horror movie shot entirely in High Definition 3D. The result is no doubt a novelty factor that earns the Pang brothers a plus point for trying something out of the ordinary. But for all the massive 3D buzz surrounding this much-anticipated horror film, Pang brothers' THE CHILD'S EYE adds nothing more than just a cheap gimmick. That said, the movie is a huge disappointment -- it isn't scary enough for a horror genre and isn't impressive enough to justify for its 3D technology.

In term of 3D, the Pang brothers do make effective use of its technology to literally poke a couple of scenes with inanimate objects right in front of your face but it's just too bad the rest of the movie is as mundane as it gets. The biggest problem of all is the Pang brothers' awfully weak script that is obviously recycled from the same old horror elements they have done before in the past. Sure, the rundown hotel setting is always a novelty for a horror genre but the Pang brothers is totally running out of steam to create least effective scary scene at all. Instead they rely too much on amplified noises and bombastic score to convey the horror feel but none of them come close to achieve something that is worthwhile.

Cast-wise, all of the actors are basically average at best and none of them are particularly a standout. Not even seasoned actors like Shawn Yue, in a glorious cameo, reduced to his typically brood-to-the-max role and the always-reliable Lam Ka-Tung in a wasted role as the hotel owner. For Rainie Yang, who spends more screen time than all of the actors combined, performs quite decently except that she tends to get too melodramatic once she requires emoting a lot.

Somewhere in between, aside from its 3D novelty factor, the Pang brothers does boost some interesting ideas here -- including the dog-human mutant hybrid and the extraordinary world of Chinese "paper-burning" funerals. There are also a time where the Pang brothers make good use of the current hot-button issue regarding political unrest in Bangkok but all this would have matter if they know how to put things together into a cohesive whole. It just doesn't happen in this movie. The whole movie is too pedestrian right down to a boring finale and also lazily-constructed (especially the routine flashback of the whole occurrences) and if that's not insulting enough, the Pang brothers goes haywire by smacking last-minute twist out of nowhere during the dying minutes that make you go "Huh?"

Despite the novelty factor for being the first Hong Kong movie shot entirely in 3D format, THE CHILD'S EYE is all cheap gimmick but hardly a scary horror movie.

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