Working quickly and quietly in the Indonesian scene, director Rocky Soraya has started to emerge as a reliable provider of solid Hollywood inspired supernatural horror films, following on the heels of the “Doll” franchise or “The 3rd Eye.” Now, one year after releasing part 1, Soraya and most of the main cast and crew return for a new entry in the saga available on the Netflix platform.
Trying to accept their newfound gifts, Alia (Jessica Mila) and her sister Abel (Bianca Hello) still struggle with being able to see the spirits in the world around them. When Abel gets killed in a tragic accident with a spirit, Alia goes to work with Mrs. Laksmi (Sophia Latjuba) at her orphanage where she meets young Nadia (Nabilah Ratna Ayu Azalia) who has the gift of the third eye like they do and is also seeing a malevolent ghost around the area. As it becomes apparent that something malicious is inside the orphanage with them, they are forced to use their powers to find out the cause of the hauntings and put an end to the spirits’ terrifying rampage across the other residents.
For the most part, “3rd Eye 2” was quite an entertaining sequel. A lot of what works best for the film is the reliance and focus on some rather chilling and dark shock scenes that build quite a creepy atmosphere. A fine encounter between Alia and Abel in their home at the beginning gives this a jolting start, while the confrontations around the orphanage are far more chilling. The investigation into the strange note Nadia drew in her notebook sends them on a chase through the darkened library looking for clues to its meaning, while an outright chilling double-encounter where Alia and another child come face-to-face with different ghosts in separate rooms features fine suspense and great shocks. Likewise, a rather chilling action scene featuring the ghost tormenting the owners of the orphanage and eventually turning its wrath on the building itself all in front of children for a big, extended sequence. This allows for a strong pacing, keeping things interesting as the abundance of creepy ghost encounters keeps the film going.
Also fun is the return of the supernatural elements that were present in the first entry. Introducing Nadia with the same powers as Abel allows this one to keep up the idea of being able to see ghosts and spirits around them using their Third Eye powers in a new setting. That ends up offering the chance to keep up with the familiar elements in the storyline. Returning to the themes of retribution and revenge on the family member responsible for their death by haunting their place of death much as the original did, the slowly-unraveled mystery of the haunting allows for Alia and Nadia to utilize their powers of foresight to see what really happened to the characters to help speed the process along. As well, the return of Bu Windu to assist in astral projection and return to the spirit world full of bright colors and ravenous ghosts makes for a great continuation and cohesion into the universe. All told, these here hold the film up as being enjoyable.
However, there are several major flaws in the film. The first issue is that much like the first entry, there’s far too much emphasis on utilizing cliched Hollywood jump-scares that are too obvious in their setup. Part 1 featured way too many scenes of ghostly figures walking by quickly in the background or popping up unexpectedly and charging at a character, a trend which is repeated continuously throughout here. As well, another in the film is an annoying habit of having hands reach out from underneath beds or dressers pulling objects underneath only to disappear upon investigating the incident. This happens several times throughout the movie and really wears out its welcome the more it’s used. However, none of these hurt the film as much as the overlong and dragged out finale that feels like a repeat of the first one, offering the return to the spirit world, overdrawn special effects work and a last-second twist that sets up a potential third film which is unnecessary and feels like overkill. It’s enough to lower the rating enough from the good elements presented beforehand.
A slight but noticeable step down in quality from part 1, “3rd Eye 2” suffers in several areas but still manages to offer up the kind of enjoyable elements that make for a watchable effort. Those who enjoyed the first one should give this a go as well as fans of this style that takes heavy influence from American works while those that are turned off by this type of film should heed caution.