Sunday, October 12, 2008

THE SIGHT (2000)

On the twelfth day of Halloween, my boo love gave to me ... twelve blank Andrew McCarthy expressions!


Middle aged Bratpacker settling into genre work, un-deadpan acting, Not-Randolph-Mantooth, sarcastic ghosts, the London Underground, Yank-psychic-hating Brit cops, and a cheery ol' kiddy slasher.

More details here.


Andrew McCarthy romps once again with the dead, only this time Bernie is nowhere in sight. He's an architect who one morning, and for no apparent reason, wakes up with the ability to see and interact with the dead who roam the earth as nosy ghosts. His boss and only friend, played by Kevin Tighe (Emergency!, Lost), drags him to London to restore a spooky old hotel. Meanwhile, the city is being terrorized by a child killer who fashions himself after Jack the Ripper. Shadows and voices torment McCarthy when he is alone in the hotel, and he is soon visited by the ghost of James Bond past, aka Honor Blackman who appears as a recently deceased old broad who urges him to use his power to bring the killer to justice. Doubting himself and his power, he is stalked by a mysterious figure who threatens his life and claims he is not worthy of the talent bestowed upon him. As the days pass and McCarthy does nothing, more spirits including the child killer's victims, appear to harass him. Some other stuff happens, mostly TV show filler and non-essential dialog that they needed to pad out the film to a nice round ninety minutes. After several creepy encounters with victims of the killer, he teams up with a beautiful young woman ghost and her grumpy trench coat-wearing dead partner to aid Scotland Yard who immediately distrust his offer for help on case. With the help of his boss, the snoopy sarcastic spirits, and a female detective, McCarthy tracks down the killer, sends the dead kids to the Afterlife, and sets the stage for further psychic crime solving adventures.


OK, so I'm a fan of director Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil, Aliens vs. Predator, Death Race) who wrote and directed The Sight. And I know a lot of people who believe he's the second coming of Ed Wood, or worse, Michael Bay. So I won't bring my dissertation in defense of the man here. At least not now. Nevertheless I will state that The Sight is definitely not one of his better efforts, despite a rather solid cast and top notch visuals. The movie is watchable and not horrible, but it's not exactly engaging either. The main reason it fails is because it doesn't explain how McCarthy's character got these power, it also doesn't explain why we should care that McCarthy's character has to do the things he does. There is little depth or complexity in his character, and he and his buddy only enjoy a jokey relationship. He's like an empty vessel blessed with a power with no real urgency or motivation to use it, so the end result of the mystery solving leaves you sort of hollow. Now this may be a heavily edited version of an TV movie pilot with scenes from an episode or two to fill it out to feature length, but there's so little written about this thing that I cannot substantiate. I can confirm that the movie feels very uneven and there are story transitions that are awkward and confusing. Fortunately, Anderson went on to bigger and better projects, some loved, some hated. The Sight is a weaker version of USA's Dead Zone series, and succeeds at a few chills and a post-Weekend at Bernie's career highlight at best.

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