The Eye, also known as Seeing Ghosts, is a 2002 Hong Kong-Singaporean horror film directed by the Pang brothers. The film spawned two sequels by the Pang brothers, The Eye 2 and The Eye 10. There are three remakes of this film, including Naina, made in 2005 in India, starring Urmila Matondkar and produced by Shripal Morakhia, Sagar Pandya, Anjum Rajabali, and Rakesh Mehra, and The Eye, a 2008 Hollywood production starring Jessica Alba and produced by Peter Chan and Paula Wagner.
Blind since the age of two, 20-year-old Hong Kong classical violinist Mun undergoes an eye cornea transplant after receiving a pair of new eyes from a donor. Initially, she is glad to have her sense of sight restored but becomes troubled when she starts seeing mysterious figures that seem to foretell gruesome deaths. The night before her discharge from hospital, she sees a shadowy figure accompanying a patient out of the room and the next morning the patient is pronounced dead.
Mun goes to see her doctor's nephew, Dr. Wah, a psychologist, about the strange entities that she has been seeing. He is skeptical at first, but as he gradually develops a closer relationship with her, he decides to accompany her on a trip to northern Thailand to find Ling, the eye donor. When they ask a village doctor about Ling and her family, he is unwilling to reveal anything but becomes more cooperative when Mun tells him that she sees what Ling used to see. Apparently, Ling had a psychic ability that allowed her to foresee death and disaster. However, her fellow villagers misunderstood her as a jinx and refused to trust her. Once, Ling tried to warn the people about an imminent disaster, but they drove her away in disbelief. When her vision came true, she felt guilty about the deaths and hanged herself. Ling's mother is both depressed and angry with her daughter and has never forgiven Ling for committing suicide, until one night Ling's spirit possesses Mun and attempts suicide. Ling's mother saves Mun and breaks down, saying that she has forgiven Ling and Ling's spirit leaves in peace. On the return journey, their bus is caught in a traffic jam and Mun sees hundreds of ghostly figures lumbering on the road. Believing that a catastrophe is approaching, she runs out of the bus and tries to warn everyone to leave, but no one understands her and think that she is insane. In fact, the traffic jam is due to a tank truck that has toppled over and is blocking the road. The truck starts leaking natural gas but nobody notices it. A driver restarts his engine and ignites the gas, causing a chain explosion. Dr. Wah saves Mun from death by shielding her with his body, but Mun is already blinded by glass fragments. In the epilogue, a blind Mun is seen roaming the streets of Hong Kong. Although she has lost her sense of sight again, she is happy that she now has the support and friendship of Dr. Wah.
- Angelica Lee as Wong Kar Mun
- Cusnithorn Chotiphan as young Mun
- Lawrence Chou as Dr. Wah
- Chutcha Rujinanon as Chiu Wai-ling
- Tassanana Nuntasaree as Ling (4 years old)
- Damronowiseeatpanich as Ling (8 years old)
- So Yat-lai as Yingying
- Candy Lo as Yee (Mun's sister)
- Dampcingcingtrakulsawadee as young Yee
- Ko Yin-ping as Mun's grandmother
- Pierre Png as Dr Eak
- Edmund Chen as Dr Lo
The Eye is a co-production of MediaCorp Raintree Pictures in Singapore and Applause Pictures of Hong Kong, and was shot in Hong Kong and Thailand with a pan-Asian cast and crew, including Malaysian actress Angelica Lee, Chinese-Canadian singer Lawrence Chou, Singaporean singer-actor Pierre Png and Thai actress Chutcha Rujinanon. The crew included Thai cinematographer Decha Seementa and the Thai music collective Orange Music provided the score.
Danny and Oxide Pang said they were inspired to write the screenplay for The Eye by a report they had seen in a Hong Kong newspaper 13 years before, about a 16-year-old girl who had received a corneal transplant and committed suicide soon after. "We'd always wondered what the girl saw when she regained her eyesight finally and what actually made her want to end her life", Oxide said in an interview.
At the end, the scene with the accident, is based on an actual event from the gas truck explosion on New Petchburi Road in 24 September 1990. It killed 90 people, injured 121 people, 43 cars were destroyed and total damage was 315 million baht.
The film received generally favourable reviews from critics in North America. On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 69% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 91 reviews. On Metacritic, the film received an average score of 66 out of 100, based on 26 reviews.
Box office performance
The film was released in the United States and Canada in 13 cinemas on 6 June 2003, grossing $122,590 its opening weekend. In those countries, the film's widest release was 23 theatres and it eventually grossed a total $512,049.