Based on the well-received Chinese film Gin gwai (Jian gui) (2002) by Oxide Pang Chun and Danny Pang, David Moreau and Xavier Palud make over the original story of Lee Sin-je’s young woman who receives a corneal transplant that restores her sight (she’s been blind since early childhood) but also gives her the unwanted ability to see ghosts, with post-op Sydney Wells (Jessica Alba) realizing that she can not only know see the spectres that share our world, but can also hear and feel them.
The updated screenplay by Sebastian Gutierrez (Gothika (2003)) arrives at the entirely gimmicky and disposable conclusion that Sydney’s new sensitivity is due to the phenomenon of ‘cellular memory’ in which recipients of transplanted organs acquire the characteristics and recollections of their original owners.
Ho hum. Not much can really be expected from such a muddle, and the film as a whole follows the by-now depressingly familiar pattern of movies that must be judged in the context of their postproduction alterations. Patrick Lussier apparently conducted two weeks of reshoots of reshoots after the original directors (who were the talented team behind the entirely unsettling and far superior Ils (2006)) had delivered their cut, to bump up the explicit scare factor, which entirely misses the point of an original that, despite its slam-bang ending, was based far more on cumulative shudders. Unfortunately, it’s the in-yer-face approach that has been adopted wholesale by the remake, more’s the pity.