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14 user 28 critic

The Heirloom (2005)

Zhai bian (original title)
A Taiwanese man returns to the island after years abroad when he inherits a house; when he and his fiancé move in, strange things start to happen.

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Cast

Cast overview:
Terri Kwan ...
Yo
Jason Chang ...
James
Chia-Hui Chang ...
Yi-Chen (as Yu-chen Chang)
...
Ah-Tseng
Yi-Ching Lu
Kuo-cheng Cheng
Ching-Ching Lin
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Storyline

After living abroad for years, a young man returns home to Taiwan after inheriting the family home, a house built 70 years before but empty for the last 20 years. Moving in with his fiancé, they and their close friends begin experiencing strange things, including the fiends winding up in the house at midnight with no memory of how. Family secrets connected with the ghosts of dead children could be at the bottom of the goings-on, and the man's fiancé tracks down his only living relative for answers. Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes inheritance is a curse

Genres:

Drama | Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violent images | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

16 September 2005 (Taiwan)  »

Also Known As:

The Heirloom  »

Box Office

Budget:

TWD 18,000,000 (estimated)
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User Reviews

 
Decent for a first try, but plain awful as a horror movie!
12 January 2006 | by (Earth) – See all my reviews

Perhaps what drew me to this film was that it touted a haunted mansion, and a Chinese haunted mansion at that! It was an interesting premise, and the poster image featuring a bottled fetus (something to do with a child ghost) did little to deter me. After all, it was featured on a local newspaper along with snippets of an interview with the film's director, who stated it was his first horror movie, after directing mainly music videos.

That alone should have told me all I needed to know.

But like a protagonist in one of these horror movies, I trudged eagerly forward, blissfully ignoring those warning signs. Now, having bore witness to this travesty, I must say that it was just plain bad for a horror movie. It fails in all regards: It is NOT scary in any way, shape, or form.

I am a fan of psychological horror (like the 1963's The Haunting, The Others, and the Japanese masterpiece, The Ring), but this film did nothing for me. It had only one single scene that was averagely scary in suggestion, but that was placed early on in the movie, and was ruined by MTV style jump-cuts... obviously the director's music video routes showing through here.

And though I don't always enjoy shock-a-thon type scarefests, well placed moments certainly work wonders for a film. Unfortunately, this 'movie' has not a single scary jump-in-your-seat type jolt. Considering that I was seated in an almost empty cinema on an empty row at midnight, that IS quite an accomplishment.

Strange that for a horror film, nothing in it is even remotely scary. What little resembled horror in this film was borrowed from other Asian movies that did a much better job (Shutter comes to mind). There was however a slightly disgusting point about the fetus, but throwing in a bag of worms (hypothetically speaking), while disgusting, won't make a scary movie scary.

I must admit though, that the soundtrack for this movie was the (only?) highlight of the film. At times, it sounded almost like a disconcerted rendering of an old fashioned Gothic horror movie. Likewise, the premise of the film is quite an interesting one, but thrown into this neophytes hands is nothing but a jumbled mess.

Now I suppose that while this is decent for his first try, but the director should go back to directing those music videos. For now though, all you parents out there, this is probably a horror movie you can show your kids without fear of giving them nightmares...


10 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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