OK, lets just clear up any confusion right off the bat. THE EYE 3 has a lot of names—alternatively known as THE EYE: INFINITY and THE EYE 10, it’s been around for a few years. Technically, it’s the third entry in The Pang Brother’s saga of ghosts and those that can see them. The 10 that the film’s original title refers to are the methods in which one can view a ghost. And those methods are what make up the rice paper thin plot that the Pang’s are trying to pass off on their audience.
The previous two EYE films had little in common tonally. The first film in the series was a supernatural thriller about a woman whose cornea transplant leaves her haunted by the spirit world. The second film was a drama about a pregnant woman who—upon deciding to commit suicide—can suddenly see the dead. THE EYE 3 references both of these methods as “ways to see the dead”. So, what THE EYE 3 is, is an explanation and visualization of the remaining other 8 methods. Methods, which range from the obvious: “Use a Ouija Board”, to the absurd: “Bend over and look between your legs”. And if that last method causes you to seriously consider the nature of this film, and then you’re half way to understanding the intentions of THE EYE 3, even if you ultimately don’t find them entertaining.
In reality The Pang Brothers set up their vision of a third EYE film right from the opening credit sequence. The film begins with a Buddhist Séance in which a possessed girl is levitated before the terrified monks. Suddenly her snakelike tongue shoots out of her mouth and smacks the monks in the head. The film then flash cuts to a group of teenagers snapping pictures on a road trip to Thailand. The title cards and music are a poppy-disco beat with a heavy 70’s retro vibe that feels like it could have been jacked from any Pam Grier/Jack Hill collaboration. It’s in less than 5 minutes that we understand that The Pang Brothers are not going to provide us with much horror in this horror movie.
One of the vacationing friends discovers the book about the 10 Ways to Encounter Ghosts and the group decides to take it upon themselves to test each method (at least the practical ones, since cornea transplants and pregnancy are more difficult to achieve). They set up each event—Ouija Board, Hide and Seek, Offer Food—in the hopes to see the unrestful spirits walking the earth, and for the most part they’re successful, until one of the group—Kofei—disappears. Now, the friends can’t seem to turn off the ghost sightings as they’re haunted by the likes of opening umbrellas and phantom basketballs.
The ridiculousness of THE EYE 3 makes the film feel more like a live action Manga than a standard entry in the Asian Horror lexicon. More akin to films like the 2002 Korean movie SEX IS ZERO than titles like RINGU or JU-ON. It’s jarring in the same sense that you might imagine if Eli Roth decided to turn over the reigns on a third HOSTEL film to the Wayans Brothers. What I mean there is that THE EYE 3 has potty humor and goofy expressions and that basketball attack sequence I mentioned before. It’s just ludicrous. And the insanity is blazing headstrong toward a climax that is beyond comprehension as two of the friends enter the spirit world to save Kofei only to discover just what bodily functions repel spirits best.
It’d be easy to totally write off THE EYE 3 as a colossal failure in changing the nature of the series. But, moments of the film work, even if it’s only the visual splendor of the filmmaking on display. The film also feels hurried, as if The Pang Brothers wanted to cram as much information as possible into 86 minutes. I also found it interesting that they simply wrote the first two films off as just 2 of the 10 Ways to Encounter Ghosts. Considering the stupidity of most of the other techniques described in the film, I guess we should be thankful that the pair decided to just give us one final project as a summation of their ideas rather than 8 more uneven films in this series.