The Eye 10

The Pang Brothers return once again to their biggest commercial success – The Eye series has now reached the third one and you have to wonder if this will go the way of the Troublesome Night series with a slow but steady decline in quality to the point of never-ending oblivion.  The first two were fairly serious horror films that hit a lot of good notes, but for this film the Pang’s seemed to be in a jovial mood and aren’t taking much of this seriously at all. In fact, they seem to be almost making fun of both the seeing dead people genre as well as their two previous films. It is so silly at times that it is impossible to approach this as a horror film – so I didn’t. Instead it’s more in the tradition of the pre-Ring Hong Kong horror films in which the horror aspects were often overwhelmed by the goofy humor.  For the most part the success of The Ring forced Hong Kong directors to toss the humor out and get in line with the approach that most of the rest of the world takes to horror – deadly serious. Here though the Pang’s are almost saying enough – let’s just be silly. At the end they appear to try to bring in a bit of pathos to the proceedings but by then it is far too late.
Four young Hong Kong adults visit their friend in Thailand - rarely a wise idea in Hong Kong movies – I wonder if tourist brochures advertise “Go to Thailand: Be Cursed and Die!” – but clearly these youngsters haven’t watched enough older movies like “The Eternal Evil of Asia” because they intentionally go looking for trouble and find it. After filming a dead body on the ground from a car accident (perhaps a reference to both “Leave Me Alone” and "Ab-Normal Beauty” from the Pang's) and telling each other a few scary stories, their Thai friend Chongkwai (Ray McDonald – “Fun Bar Karaoke”) tells them of a book he bought – “10 Encounters” – that gives 10 friendly hints on how to see the dead – sort of a “Seeing Dead People for Dummies”.  I will be relaying a few of these in this review, but please don’t try them at home – I did – and now I have a new friend who likes to sit on my shoulders and my back is starting to hurt. The 10 Encounters is of course the reasoning behind the title of the film, but no doubt this will confuse future generations of Hong Kong film fans asking where they can find 3-9.
But kids will be kids and they are very excited about seeing ghosts – certainly more fun than Thai television. The four friends from Hong Kong are April (Isabella Leong) who is involved with Gofei (Chris Gu) and two cousins – Ted (Chan Po Lin) and May (Kate Yeung – “20:30:40”). They all gather around a Ouija board but no one notices the ghost that joins them so they go on to the next method – leaving food at a street intersection late at night and tapping on the food bowls with chopsticks. This one works all too well and they see more ghosts than they want to and run away in terror – except for May who wasn’t able to – so she demands they try once again. This time it's playing Hide and Seek at midnight while carrying a black cat. And tragedy strikes.
Gofei disappears during the game and April begins to fall apart when they can't locate him. The two cousins make a quick cowardly exit back to Hong Kong but now they seem to have ghosts all around them. This leads to one of the funnier scenes in the film in which Ted is possessed and gets into a break dancing contest with two onlookers. Finally though they realize that they have to go back to Thailand to save their friends by entering the limbo world of death. The film makes a few references to the two previous films – a quick flash of Angelica Lee and Hsu Chi and also two playful jabs at the films – they come across a boy on the staircase looking for his report card (Eye 1) and one of them drops change at the bus stop (Eye 2). There is also a pointless side story that appears to have no reason except to get the popular and beautiful Thai actress Bongkot Kongmalai (Bang Rajan, Kunpan) into a few scenes for marketing reasons (a shame since she is my favorite Thai actress).
If you go in not expecting a horror film, this is certainly passable entertainment – amusing at times, a few decent eerie moments (the opening Buddhist exorcism scene was quite good I thought), some clever ideas and some young attractive if not particularly talented actors. One just expects more from a Pang film but they seem to be taking this one as a bit of a lark.

My rating for this film: 6.0