Who here remembers “The Eye” with Jessica Alba? What? Only a few, huh? Good. It was crap. The problem is that it wasn’t always crap. Back in 2002, Hong Kong put out the original “The Eye” and it was truly dark and scary and it dug itself under your skin by using a novel concept that didn’t seem too far fetched. The ghosts (yeah, if you haven’t seen either film, there’s ghosts) are very unique for film in the way they move about and interact with the living. This film (the original) was so good that it had two sequels that did equally well. In fact, the third in the series even had jokes that poked fun at some of the key moments of the first two films and it didn’t interrupt the great tension of the story.
This is, unfortunately, not that uncommon. Fantastic horror films coming out of Hong Kong, Spain, or Korea are being remade in America and losing all the great fright. These cultures have long standing beliefs about the supernatural that are a part of their everyday culture instead of kicked under the bed the way Americans do with ghost stories. Because of this, they are able to weave tales that are tragic, beautiful, and scary as hell. This is because when some 20something girl tells the older woman in the building that she thinks there might be an angry spirit following her, the old lady freaks out and tells her who to talk to to try and please the spirit so it will go away. In America, that old lady would be the male superintendent of the building and he’d laugh in her face, leaving her on her own and simplifying what could have been a fantastic story.
Films like “A Tale of Two Sisters”, “Ju-On”, “Dark Water”, and “Shutter” have all gotten Americanized into “The Unforgiven”, “The Grudge”, “Dark Water”, and “Shutter”, respectively. Some of these completely lost their original ending or the true motivation of the ghost involved and others just downright sucked.
Why does America do this? Why can’t we just import the great films and distribute them as is. I mean, they got brought over here because they were already fantastic movies, right? So why does America keep messing them up?
American film makers can make their own, original ghost films that don’t completely blow a good story with a horrible ending (don’t ever bother with “The Last Exorcism”). Films like “Skeleton Key” and “The Sixth Sense” were great, not campy, and didn’t have the worst ending imaginable.
If you like ghost movies, try foreign films and skip the American remakes, please.