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  Eye 10, The Watch Out
Year: 2005
Director: Oxide Pang Chun, Danny Pang
Stars: Bo-lin Chen, Kate Yeung, Isabella Leong, Yu Gu, Ray MacDonald, Bongkoj Khongmalai
Genre: Horror, ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Many years ago, a chapter of Thai monks were doing their best to prevent the possession of a young woman by chanting in a circle around her levitating body - but there was someone looking on who witnessed the whole thing. Now, in the present day, a group of four friends from Hong Kong are visiting their pal in Thailand, and after a day at the carnival, they take the bus back to where they are staying. On the way, the bus is held up by a road accident, and one of the friends, Tak (Bo-lin Chen) can't resist filming the body of a young woman lying by the roadside, her face covered. That night, they feel it's the time of year to tell ghost stories yet after a couple the Thai friend (Ray MacDonald) points out they're all friend of a friend tales - what about a story that actually happened to them...?

The first two film in the Eye trilogy were spooky and low key, so patently they thought it was time for a change of approach because this instalment is a lot dafter than its predecessors. You could almost call it a comedy horror, but it can't seem to make up its mind whether to opt for all out laughs, or stick with a high quotient of scares, so you're left with a bumpy combination of both. It's kind of like I Know What You Did Last Summer crossed with a Ju-on: The Grudge movie, and while a fair few fans of the first two Eye films were less than impressed, it's not quite as poorly assembled as some would have you believe.

Scripted by the Pang Brothers, so there is a measure of continuity here, the "10" in the title doesn't refer to either Bo Derek or the number of sequels the series has amassed, but a Thai spiritual belief in the ten ways to see ghosts, the first two having been outlined in The Eye and The Eye 2. Our protagonists work this out from a book that one of them has been reading, and they recklessly decide that tonight is a great night for ghost hunting. A ouija board proves a complete letdown in contacting the spirit world, so they settle on rattling rice bowls at midnight and do indeed attract spirits, only one of the girls can't see them and wonders what the others' panic is about. To satisfy her curiosity, the next stage is hide and seek, so off they traipse to the woods for a game (holding a black cat seems to be important) which has the unforseen effect of making one of the boys vanish completely.

So where has he gone? To the Other Side, of course, and it's up to his friends to let him return. The Eye 10 is notably episodic in structure, more or less one spooky set up after another, so when the Chinese go back to their homes the strange events follow them; May (Kate Yeung) for example, has a close encounter with a phantom umbrella in the subway and is followed home by a possessed basketball. Odd details abound, apparently based in genuine Thai folklore, the most memorable being the ability to see ghosts if you bend over and look between your legs - well, it works for the characters at any rate. Try it yourself. Humour includes Tak becoming possessed and moving so jerkily that a couple of breakdancers mistake him for a challenger, until he walks onto the ceiling that is, and the spirits not only being repelled by the breath of the living, but their farts as well. None of this is especially side splitting, but it is weird and does stand out, yet most fans would probably watch A Chinese Ghost Story or similar if they wanted a funny chiller from Hong Kong.

Aka The Eye Infinity or the original title, Gin Gwai 10.

[Tartan's Region 2 DVD features a documentary and trailers as extras.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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