The original "Eye" was a moody mediocre stab at supernatural dread from Danny and Oxide Pang, Thai-born twins working out of Hong Kong. Slow, vague, and without a legitimate chill or a surprise, the movie was a drag. This American version has been directed by David Moreau and Xavier Palud, two Europeans who've transplanted the story (wanly adapted by Sebastian Gutierrez), the corneas, and the mediocrity (are those death-ghosts from the afterlife or Roswell?). Their movie is watchable - never more gratuitously so than when Alba is filmed showering and slipping into a tank top. But we've been here before, no?
Moreau and Palud's first film together was an ultimately underwhelming exercise in terror called "Them." It's a notch above this, their Hollywood debut. The noise and cheap bumps in the night from the Pangs' movie have been toned down, but without them you realize that atmosphere was all the Pangs had going for them. Now "The Eye" is a pilot for another show about a sexy woman who sees - or is obsessed with - the dead. But Alba, with her ethereal beauty, is no Patricia Arquette ("Medium") or Jill Hennessy ("Crossing Jordan"). She could give Jennifer Love Hewitt ("Ghost Whisperer") a run for her money in the girlishness department.
But even Hewitt's face has a range of feeling. Her voice has pleasingly rich character. When Alba talks, no matter what she's actually saying, it usually sounds like she's asking, "Does this come in a two?" She narrates "The Eye." And it speaks volumes about her directors' tone deafness that they play up what will never be Alba's strong suit. "People say seeing is believing. . . Now I see using my other senses. . . I bet music looks beautiful." All I can see is jeans.
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