The Eye 2
Posted by Holly
Pregnancy can be a terrifying concept. When I was younger, I envisioned it as something living just under your skin, that knows things, and is biding its time until it can burst out of you in an Alien-esque shower of blood and viscera. I’ve since (mostly) outgrown this, but well done horror involving pregnancy can still freak me the hell out.
The Eye 2 does this, and surprisingly well. It follows a woman named Joey – who, after being rejected by her lover, attempts suicide. In failing that, she discovers two startling things: her brush with death has given her an ability to see spirits, and she is pregnant. Deciding not to terminate the pregnancy, she proceeds with parenting classes, but the strange supernatural activity around her only grows. And with each passing day, it seems to become more menacing.
One ghostly figure in particular seems to be attached to Joey, appearing to her often. With a little digging, she learns the woman’s identity – her ex-lover’s wife, Yuen, who committed suicide the very same night Joey made her attempt. Fearing for her and her child’s lives, Joey desperately searches for a way to end the haunting that is plaguing her.
This has to be one of the most philosophical takes on haunting I’ve seen since Kairo. This story weaves in a Buddhist-inspired take on reincarnation, but weighs it against a very visual and unsettling implementation. Souls looking for new bodies to occupy may be the natural order of things here, but it does not make the image of a ghost forcing its way between a woman’s legs as she gives birth seem any less terrifying or violating. Naturally, Joey feels the same, and comes to the conclusion that the ghosts aim to harm mothers and their children, and she rejects the thought of the same happening to her.
The relationship between Joey and Yuen is another fascinating element to this. Initially a resentful and angry interaction, one that can be expected between a wife and mistress, it ultimately transforms. As Joey desperately tries to escape the situation, Yuen emotionally confesses her real desire – to leave the pain of her previous life behind her. By allowing Yuen to be born as her child, Joey gains a form of absolution for her part in that pain, and it has a purifying effect on both women. Rather than bitter romantic rivalry, their relationship becomes positive, with the love shared between parent and child.
Now, this is technically a “sequel” to the 2002 film The Eye, and so it may be tempting to compare them: don’t. It does a disservice to both films to see them as anything other than tangentially related through similar themes. This isn’t The Eye, but it is a very thoughtful ghost story with a unique perspective on life, death, and the cycle they create.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Scariness level: Mid range. A few too many jumps for my taste, but the moments that work are really eerie – that bus stop scene in particular. Yikes.
Violence level: A lot of discussion and depiction of suicide/suicide attempts, so if this is triggering, be warned. Other than those, not much other than the
bloodbath miracle of birth.
Bechdel test: Small moments between Joey and the other mothers, the final scene between Joey and Yuen. So yes.
Mako Mori test: The douchey father of Joey’s child is hardly even in the movie. Pass.