After the absolute greatness of "Them," French filmmakers David Moreau and Xavier Palud apparently went for a paycheck and agreed to film Jessica Alba in a PG-13 "Ring" clone. Like "The Ring," this one is based on an Asian horror film -- in this case Chinese.
The film opens with a prologue featuring children, which seems evocative of "Them" -- and for a minute we think we're going to be watching another horror classic.
Then we get to meet Alba, who as always looks fantastic -- even when she first shows up on screen on a street with dark glasses and a cane, signifying that her character is blind as a bat. Her character, Sydney Wells, is about to get an experimental eye transplant that will give her vision for the first time since childhood.
Well, we're all pretty familiar with what happens in PG-13 horror movies: The lead star stars "seeing dead people", which is what happens here when she adjusts to her new eyes. Naturally, there's a mystery that has to be uncovered: Whose eyes were these? The eyes of a murderer? Or someone who was murdered? All the doctors will tell her is, "That's confidential." The mystery ends up taking her to Mexico.
Meanwhile, her friends (like her sister, played by Parker Posey, a great actress totally wasted here) think she's going mental. She even screws up during a classical music recording session. Yes, she's such an amazing woman that she plays the violin.
Thanks to Moreau and Palud's directing prowess, there are some cool scenes in the film, including one where she witnesses a newly created ghost after a car accident. But it isn't enough to save this movie. Especially annoying is the climax at the end where she tries to save people from an accident she has a premonition of -- banging on doors, telling a busload of people there's a bomb onboard, etc. It's silly stuff.
Not even a second rate version of "The Ring," this is more of a third rate version. There are some cool moments, but ultimately the film needed a better actress than Alba in the lead. And even with a better actress, it would have had plenty of problems.
Hopefully Moreau and Palud will return to form with an R-rated horror fim produced outside the dysfunctional Hollywood system.