If you’re a serious film fan, you probably have a kneejerk (but totally appropriate!) negative reaction any time you hear about an American remake of a beloved movie from another country. Who among us has not been burned? Who doesn’t have that one favorite film from abroad that was eventually sullied (or even ruined) by Hollywood ignorance/excess/apathy/all of the above?
For me, it was the 2004 Thai horror movie, Shutter, which was crazy scary and climaxed with a final reveal (I won’t spoil it here) that chilled me to the bone, only to be transformed four years later into a disappointing cash grab starring Dawson Creek’s Joshua Jackson.
For others, perhaps it was the British cult classic, The Wicker Man (1973), which was recycled into the unintentionally campy Nicolas Cage movie of the same name in 2006. Or maybe it was the R-rated J-horror classic, Ju-on (2002), which became the nonsensical PG-13 Sarah Michelle Gellar vehicle, The Grudge (2004).
But believe it or not, I’m not a rabid purist. I do acknowledge that there have been solid remakes in the American canon, horror and otherwise. For example, as much as I (and the rest of the world) love the chilling Let the Right One In (2008) from Sweden, I think Let Me In (2010) is remarkably well-crafted and surprisingly moving, emotionally, in ways the Swedes never intended.
So it was with an open mind that I recently approached watching, after all these years, the 2008 American remake of The Eye (2002). I saw the Hong Kong-made original when it first came out, in a small theater that no longer exists, and it instantly became one of my favorite horror films of all time.