Horror, as a genre, is cyclical. That is to say, that every few years, a new country puts the horror genre on the cinematic map. In the 1920's, 30's and 40's, it was Universal's classic "monster movies" that put horror from the USA on the map. In the 50's, 60's, and 70's, Hammer produced classic retakes on Dracula and Frankenstein, giving the UK its place on the map too. Through the late 1970's and into the 1980's, it was Italy that took horror to its heart. Then, the US took us through the 1980's and 90's, with splatter and slasher movies.

Now, in the 2000's, it's the turn of the Far East to hold the mantle. From the original "Ringu" series, through "Ju-On", via "Versus", "Freezer" and "Ichi The Killer". Japan, Korea, China, and, of course, Hong Kong, have introduced the world to another variant of horror flicks!

It's from Hong Kong, that the Pang Brothers herald from. Oxide and Danny Pang have given us the eerie horror flick "Bangkok Haunted", and then introduced us to medical horror, via "The Eye". Now, "The Eye 2" makes its UK DVD debut, and it's an absolute jaw-dropper!

The original "Eye" movie dealt with a woman who underwent an eye transplant, only to find herself suffering from horrific visions. The sequel, is actually a far superior film, and for this reason alone, I highly recommend it, irrespective of whether or not you've seen the original movie.

The 2004 sequel delivers us into the hellish world of a woman who becomes pregnant, soon after her hapless boyfriend breaks-up with her. However, all is not as it seems, as he has been cheating on her. His other lady, was pregnant, but miscarried. But it seems that mysterious forces are at work, and now his recently-separated girlfriend is about to find out what the real horror of pregnancy is all about.

It's rare for any sequel to be as good as its original brethren, and it's rarer still, for the sequel to improve on the first title. But this is the exact case with this movie. "The Eye 2" is pretty much the most horrific and scary movie I've seen, since "Ringu" was released onto UK screens a few years ago now.

The best horror movies, often find horror in the everyday, mundane things we all take for granted. Thus, the use of a pregnant woman, and the nine month period that gestation takes, is the perfect point to hang a deliciously evil tale onto. Memories of "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Omen" spring to mind, but "The Eye 2" deals with the horror and terror of pregnancy itself, rather than the resultant child. Restricting the use of gore to just a few necessary scenes, and reverting to good, old-fashioned, scare-the-shit-out-of-you spookiness in the rest, is what elevates this film into a masterpiece of Hong Kong cinema. At first, the film lulls you into a false sense of security, but around 50 minutes into the film, things go very, very intense, very quickly indeed, and don't let go until the very end.

It's these intense moments, that makes the movie such an impressive title! When our heroine is waiting for a ride home, at the local bus stop late one night, and she appears to hear strange voices, the Pang Brothers place the not-so-subtle long dark-haired girl nearby. As fans of the genre, you expect a Sadako/Ring-style moment to be close by, but it never arrives. And then, just when you think everything's going to be okay, the bastard's go and up the ante, by scaring you shitless, when you least expect it! And, boy, will this one screw with your head!

I can't praise this film enough - which is rare for me! But I take great pleasure in recommending it to everyone! It's stylish. It's complex enough to actually make the viewer work out what the hell is going on, and will reward its audience even after repeated viewings! This is just superb on so many levels, and I'm glad that Tartan did not give this title a double-disc release, as I think knowing too much about how the film was made, will ruin some of the great spine-tingling moments the film will give you.

I have to confess, that I did lose my way keeping track of everyone in the film, and the ending is not what you'd expect, but I think that when I watch this again, I'll only end-up enjoying it more.

Unlike many of the Tartan Asia Extreme releases, this is a single-disc only release. It comes with three soundtracks (Dolby 2.0 Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, and a DTS track), and just one significant extra, comprising a 13-minute Behind The Scenes documentary. There is also the original trailer.

The DTS soundtrack is the one to go for, if at all possible, as it's one of the finest, DTS tracks I've heard on a Region 2 disc. There is stunning use of background sounds, that will freak you out big-style. A phone ringing. A door closing. You name it, it's there, and it won't take long before you ask yourself if the sound you've just heard was on the film, or in your own house! Better still, both Tartan and the Pang Brothers have deliberately left the soundtrack very subdued. Thus, when the shocks come, they come at you without any warning! I dare anyone to watch this movie, with the DTS track playing, late-at-night, in the dark, and on their own, and to end-up not shitting bricks! It really is a great piece of audio work! Unusually, for an Asian movie, there is plenty of English dialogue, amongst the subtitled stuff. SGM readers will be glad to know the film is not dubbed, but with less subtitles to work through than your average Asia Extreme movie, it does allow viewers a bit of a chance to enjoy the film in more detail.

Alongside this, Tartan have really created an excellent, pristine picture as well. Even though the film was only made in 2004, it's nice to see that every, single, subtle detail can be seen as clearly, as you would do so in real life. It is a sublime piece of processing, and Tartan deserve a big pat on the back for this transfer. The special effects are also extremely effective! There are at least three shock moments, where the effects are so cleverly done, you almost believe they aren't effects at all. Check out the "Bus Stop" sequence at around 50 minutes into the movie, and the "Baby Ultrasound" sequence as well. Both will send shivers right the way through your body!

At just 92 minutes, the film never outstays its welcome. The ending is a little surreal, and there could be more extras, but I think that Tartan have benefitted audiences of this disc, by giving us a great movie, with superb picture and sound quality, rather than overloading us with tons of worthless interviews and commentaries that don't really add anything to the film. They do say, less is more, and that certainly applies here.

The film is in the Anamorphic 1.85:1 Widescreen format, although the details on the back cover, state it's in 2.35:1! Despite this, the picture looks perfectly framed, and there appears to be no loss of picture information. I think, therefore, this may be a simple printing error.

I can't, and shouldn't, say any more, except that if you want a genuinely scary movie, rather than a gore-fest, then you should enjoy "The Eye 2" a lot! I just wouldn't recommend watching this title, if you or your partner are expecting a new child anytime soon! You'll never look at children in quite the same way again!

This film is - quite simply - the finest Asia Extreme DVD title of 2005!

Review by "Pooch".

Released by Tartan Video (UK)
Region All PAL
Rated 18
Extras : see main review