Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Import/Export: The *Hindi* Eye (aka Naina)

I stumbled across this film by accident and decided that I just had to see it.  Let me give you the set-up: India made this movie in 2005, but it's not an official remake the horror film by The Pang Brothers.  What does this mean?  Basically, it means that they don't get a dime!  The film is a pretty close adaptation of the story, but with new, Hindi actors.  That's really all there is to say to build this up.  Break out your Naan bread for my review of...
The film begins with a bunch of odd imagery.  That's fitting, since the movie is built entirely around this.  The forward movement of the plot is pretty much secondary to this.  You probably know the plot for the most part: the girl is born and gets glass in her eyes from a car accident.  The CG budget for this movie is pretty low, as is evidenced by the famous scene.  As my brother pointed out though, they clearly *had* to include this scene and just had to work with what they had.
After getting the transplant as an adult, the young woman begins to see things that she shouldn't.  She sees blood on windows, fire in the streets and weird people that can walk through walls.  She makes friends with a young kid wearing the world's worst bald cap to ever be put on screen.  This pads the run-time a bit, but serves very little purpose.  The pay-off comes the night after she is told about him having some sort of neurosurgery done.  She sees him walk by and through a wall, which tells her that he is going to die.  Sure enough- he does!  I should ask how she sees the ghost to a person who's not dead yet, but that is probably asking too much.  As she continues to have visions, the movie is pretty apparent in the J-Horror films that it tries to ape.  For example, she sees freaky imagery and static on a television screen.  Gee, that's not like Ringu at all!  Don't get me wrong- it's nice and all, but the plot's momentum suffers for it.
There is some more pay-off to the visions as the one she has of a girl that appears to be the Hindi version of Alice Sweet Alice ends up being a missing girl.  She tells the police where to find the body...and there is zero follow-up on this.  They don't ask questions or take a statement?!?  It's pretty much just 'thanks for telling us where the body was hidden- have a nice day!'  Finally getting too upset by the visions and almost nobody believing her, she coerces her doctor into revealing where the eye transplant came from.  This sends them on a trip to India.  By the way, 90% of the movie takes place in London, which makes for some odd moments of English-speaking amongst all the Hindi.  They discover a small village and a bunch of visual cues that relate to her visions.  Again, to the film's credit, everything does lead somewhere.  They discover it was the home of a young woman who could foresee death...and was not popular because of it.  Flying in the face of actual lore for an area like this, she was seen as a witch and a 'death-bringer.'  She tries to warn them of an impending gas leak-related explosion, but they ignore her.  When a bunch of them die, she commits suicide by walking into the river.
Once out of the day-dream/flashback, our heroine goes home...only to get visions of impending death in a subway tunnel.  She finds work being done there and tries to warn people.  Naturally, nobody believes her, although the doctor does.  For some reason, he tells her to let it go.  Um, what?  So yeah, a spark sets off an explosion and kills a ton of people.  Yet again, the movie's CG budget shows pretty apparently.  Oh and while trying to stop it, some glass flies in and ruins her new eyes.  Ooh, that's so clever, movie!  Nobody makes anything about her warnings either and the movie ends with her being blind, but happy.  What a tonal change from the 9/11-style chaos and destruction mere minutes earlier!  The End.
I've got to be honest- this is not that good of a movie.  While I can say that it's the first Bollywood film I've seen to not shoehorn musical numbers into it (I've seen five, by the way), the plot still has issues.  Unlike Mahakaal (aka Indian Freddy), it doesn't ignore it's plot for minutes on end.  Instead, it lingers about with a series of weird visions and hallucinations.  This idea can work, but only when you have a real plot too.  Have a character going somewhere or trying to solve a mystery.  You can't just have them hanging around home/the hospital and seeing crazy shit!  It takes nearly an hour for the reveal of the eye donor's past to come out and that is very rushed.  Minutes after arriving, she is given a 10 minute long scene explaining everything!  You guys don't get pacing, do you?  There are certainly slower-moving and more dull films of this type (i.e. The Wig), but this is still not that good.  If you like J and K-Horror, you may be more forgiving though.  Ultimately, it doesn't do all that much different.
Up next, I celebrate Earth Day with a film that is very much not Avatar.  Instead, it's a low-budget horror film that teaches us the values of not polluting...and involves zombies.  Stay tuned...


  1. Well at least the cinematography looks pretty good, and by pretty good I naturally mean better than expected, and by better than expected we can generally agree I mean doesnt look like dog shit

  2. Yeah, it's not the worst movie. It just does so little to distinguish itself. It does make an interesting footnote in cinematic history, but that's about it.