aka Zhai Bian (Original Title)
97 min., 2005
Written by Dorian Li
Directed by Leste Chen
My rating: ★★★★★
Great movie with a very different type of ghost
* * *
James (Jason Chang) is back in town and has inherited a house and is trying to convince his girlfriend, Yo (Terri Kwan) to stay with him instead of working abroad, which is where he has been for a while. With their two friends, Yi-Chen (Yu-Chen Chang) and Ah-Tseng (Tender Huang) they go through the house and check the place out. While there they find that there is a family shrine up stairs which weirds them out a bit. Yo also asks James what is above there and he just assumes it’s an attic. After a little bit of time strange things start to happen and footprints start to show up around the house. The other thing is that whenever someone has come to the house, the always end up back there after they fall asleep. How do they get there and why do they return?
The acting is quite superb in the movie. Terri Kwan and Jason Chang play very well off of each other as they do with Yu-Chen Chang and Tender Huang. Terri is especially good at showing a slow rise in terror and understanding about what’s going on. Jason Chang has his problems with showing different emotions and most just come off as him being confused, but it doesn’t hinder the movie all that much.
The effects are top notch with them feeling very natural and not forced or gimmicky. Then again the effects are few or just simple camera tricks, with only a few being in your face. So it works when you only get glimpses of what’s happening, but then you get a face full of effects and you are taken back instead of annoyed.
The one thing about the movie that I really loved is the story. I’m a fan of ghost stories to begin with, but one thing I love about Asian culture is their vast and varied amounts of different ghosts out there. In America we have about four different types of ghosts, and when I say types, I don’t mean stories, I’m talking about the way that the ghosts interact or are created. In Asian culture there are dozens of different types (sadly America has only gotten a few of the different types–Ringu or Ju-On) and they are all over the place from tragic and angry to happy and helpful to tortured and forced fortune making. Every time I sit down to watch another Asian ghost story, I’m always excited and this was no disappointment. The story is original and engaging, though there are some slow spots and the end does goes on a bit too long, and when you find out exactly what was going on you are taken aback by the craziness of it all.Have You Read...?