I love horror from the Far East, the recent DVD release of The Child’s Eye from Hong Kong helps in some ways to illustrate why. There seems to be a sense of telling a horror story in a different light, but in a way that illustrates meaning to society. This particular movie does just that. Released by Lionsgate to the USA Market via DVD this film will likely pick up viewers, the question is, will it keep them long enough to enjoy the conclusion of the film where its ultimate meaning is exposed.
The Child’s Eye is a unique story of three young couples who are vacationing in Thailand. While there a revolt takes place and they are forced to stay at a less than desirable motel as the airport closes and they are prevented from returning home. The lackadaisical attitude of some of the vacationing individuals causes them to make a series of bad decisions. They care little for each other, and don’t take their surroundings seriously, including the political environment. They soon learn there is more going on at the hotel they are staying than they realize and the more time they spend there, the more they are caught up into the horrors of this place. The hotel is haunted and the haunting involves them in ways they would never expect. There is the intent to do harm, but they don’t know why.
In the past I have marveled at the quality of foreign language film, in some regards while this one falls just a tad short in its acting and special effects, there are some rather nice accomplishments. The lighting and story are done quite nicely as is the location shooting and direction on the film. The director of The Child’s Eye also does a nice job in keeping the story flowing, yet, there are times when the acting is less than acceptable.
In the unique style of Asian film horror is told in a refreshing way. Horror isn’t with the intent to scare as much as there is a story to be told. One of the weaknesses of The Child’s Eye is the lack of character development. We learn about one particular couple of the three and we learn about the ghost and her story. There are just too many characters involved in the story that we don’t know about. It is one of the weaknesses that left the movie less than great. While the Direction moves the story along nicely, a better script would have helped and could have turned this from an entertaining movie, to a potentially very good movie. Unfortunately that isn’t what we have but it is still fun.
One of the things I appreciated is the emphasis on the dangers of any individual existing just for the sake of existing. There is a world around us and there is more than any individual. Each person matters and as a society, we have to see the needs of those around us. Many go through difficulty and are unwilling to listen to the needs of the community. They instead are selfish and care for little other than themselves. We also see the value in one being aware of their surroundings. It is as we become aware of the needs of others, care for them, and respond accordingly that we collectively can face the dangers around us. The Child’s Eye illustrates the collective strength of people working together in many situations including the work-place, church, or family unit. We also see in The Child’s Eye the backgrounds of the one who would do evil. Those ghosts have reasons to do and behave the ways they do. There is sympathy for those who have gone through hard times and as we realize that, we realize the potential of hope. Ultimately those who have been mistreated seek revenge; those receiving the consequences of that revenge are often innocent but as illustrated here, while the innocent may be innocent of certain things, they are not innocent of all things. All are guilty and deserve judgment. Thankfully through the life and blood of a child, through the one willing to make sacrifice, there is salvation.
I have to admit, the first 45 minutes or so of The Child’s Eye was just okay. The last 45 minutes were quite good and the conclusion of the film makes it worthwhile. While some will be turned off due to the subtitles of the film, they are actually done quite well and it the film is easy to follow. The film originally shown in 3-D does transfer over nicely, although it was obvious this original 3-D movie could have been more enjoyable in the theater. I was also a little disappointed in the special features, while they exist and are entertaining; the menu selection is quite poor. You have to watch all of the features together including cast and crew interviews and commentary. In those features we hear and see them speaking quite about the 3-D process even though the DVD is not 3-D, therefore the special features provide little knowledge. I did like the strong female characters in the film. There is the realization in this culture of the significance of women and the need to go beyond the expectations of society.
This is a good film, not great, but good. It would provide for some fun moments especially during the Halloween season. While the film is rated ‘R’ there is no language, gore, or nudity issues. There are frankly some scenes more horrorific on American television and in my opinion the ‘R’ rating is not justified. While I can’t say the film is worth owning, it is worth watching, but stay until the end as the last 30 – 45 minutes of the film is actually quite entertaining and thrilling.
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