The Sight

3 out of 5

Directed by: Paul W.S. Anderson

Paul W.S. Anderson earned respect for translating Mortal Kombat into a workable, enjoyable, cheesy flick, and then actually further earned some legit followers with Event Horizon and Soldier.  And then there was Resident Evil, which would seem to be the beginning of the big divide: berate Anderson as a crowd-pleasing hack, or love him for his competence at creating distracting spectacle.

His style took an uptick at that point as well, taking over writerly reigns since his debut, Shopping, and finding a balance between some of the overt stylization of Event Horizon and Soldier’s comfortable brutality and then combining it with a confidence borne of knowing exactly what he wanted the final product to be, crafting it as such from start to finish.  From then on, Paul’s movies would have a look and feel that is identifiable to the director.

For those that fall into that latter ‘love him’ crowd, such as m’self, ‘The Sight,’ an attempted TV-show kickoff edited into a 90-minute movie, might be of interest.  It’s completely average TV movie fare, but as it came directly between Soldier and Resident Evil, it shows the emerging Anderson style, shifting from some staid editing techniques towards more in-your-face cuts and shots; carrying over the weight of Solider’s scuffles and Event Horizon’s atmosphere to the forward momentum and aggressiveness of his flicks-to-come.  ‘Sight’ very much benefits from this, making its Andrew McCarthy-sees-ghosts-and-must-solve-a-murder-mystery plot move along in surprisingly gripping fashion, even if it’s taking notes from any given supernatural-themed movie / show of this same variety.  Paul has fun teasing us with who’s a ghost and who’s not, and McCarthy is actually pretty excellent in the role, shifting his character believably (in context) from being out of his depth to taking charge.

As the flick ticks towards its conclusion, it’s bait as an ongoing series begins to show, trailing off in to some silly cliffhanger stuff, but prior to that, it’s a solid piece of fluff, with more style and mood than general made-for-TV stuff from 2000.  Paul’s early inability to not quite know what to do with non-action sequences means the connective material is somewhat bland, but that’s just flashes inbetween the more successfully distracting stuff.