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See Some Evil, Hear Some Evil

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We don't demand a lot from movies, but we do insist they get basic senses right. In "The Eye," a remake of a popular Chinese-language horror movie, when Jessica Alba's character Sydney receives a cornea transplant to give her sight after 15 years of blindness, she starts hearing things.

Sure, everything looks ghostly in those first days of tentative vision, and Sydney can vaguely make out some creepy forms. But mostly she hears bangs, shrieks, voices, moaning and an assortment of other haunted-house noises. That's right: After eye surgery, Sydney hears dead people.

A comedy? No, this is a very serious thriller starring -- did I mention already? — Jessica Alba, who, when not elevated on heels as high as celery stalks, or frantically running around in see-through undershirts, contemplates deep thoughts in the shower about the strange visions she's been having with a pair of refurbished peepers.

What does she see? The cold, dead forms of horrors past — namely an assortment of scenarios and characters from recent memory. Sydney's new hell is "Scary Movie" scenes set to a spooky record skipping in eternal damnation. We get vengeful spirits, extrasensory visions, visits from a dead Asian kid, zombies, and, to remind us the '80s had good thrillers, too, recently deceased people yanked offstage by ghouls, just like in "Ghost."

Determined to be taken seriously, the movie has Sydney look up something called "cellular memory," which has nothing to do with the new iPhone. Her eyes, we are told, remember the girl who used to own them. Or the girl remembers the eyes — it's never quite clear.

Regardless, her visions are now Sydney's, and they lead her and eye-therapist/romantic interest Paul (Alessandro Nivola) down to Mexico to find out what it all means.

Nothing, is what the movie's makers must at some point have realized.

In the end, unable to put Sydney in danger, they turn the movie into an episode of "Heroes." I didn't get it, but it had me scared, all right. All I kept thinking was how many Chinese could be thinking up new horror movies ... right ... now. (PG-13) 97 min. S





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