The original version of The Eye was a solid ghost picture, steeped in local culture and grounded in reality. It wasn't a classic, but it was effective, cycling through familiar rounds of slowly building tension followed by inevitable release. The overall atmosphere was gloomy, with only the faintest glimmer of hope. The new version of The Eye is a patchwork quilt that doesn't hold together with the same degree of focus (apologies in advance: it's difficult to avoid ocular references). There are suggestions of ambition, of a desire to infuse the heroine with greater control of her own destiny, but in the end the new version is neither better nor worse than the original -- just different.
Blind since the age of five, concert violinist Sydney Wells (Jessica Alba) undergoes a double cornea transplant and immediately begins seeing things she ought not. Her concerns are quickly waved away as normal, both by her eye surgeon and by Dr. Paul Faulkner (Alessandro Nivola), a specialist in helping cornea transplant patients adjust to their new vision. As Dr. Paul explains, Sydney has to teach her brain how to interpret all the images associated with things she has only heard, smelled, or tasted before.
The directing team of David Moreau and Xavier Palud handle the early scenes with a restrained flourish, making it clear with a montage the practical challenges Sydney faces in navigating through her "new world." A blurry party scene, in which Sydney "meets" her friends and co-workers for the first time, their faces bobbing up in a well-intentioned but confusing melange, also scores points in setting up Sydney's point of view.