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After writing three best-sellers about love story based on her own experiences, the successful writer Tsui Ting-Yin is without inspiration and having difficulties to write her new novel in the horror genre entitled "Re-cycle". While drafting the text, spooky events happen at her apartment and her former boy-friend of eight years ago visits her, after his divorce, proposing Tsui. When Tsui sees a supernatural long-haired character of her book, she follows him and is trapped in his world of terror. But she is saved by the young Ting-yu, who discloses a secret about her to Tsui. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Huge Disappointment Upon First Viewing, Huge Triumph Upon the Second
I blame no one but myself for not loving this movie the first time around, as Re-Cycle is the posterchild for viewer-induced disappointment. For me personally, I expected something that mirrored the Silent Hill videogames and considering how those Californian simpletons mucked up their attempt at a Silent Hill movie, I was drooling at the mouth to see if Re-Cycle succeeded where they had failed.
Obviously, I deluded myself into believing that Re-Cycle was trying to be something it was never meant to be. Needless to say, I was severely disappointed after an initial viewing. Where were all of the incredibly disturbing, blood-soaked images? Where were the detailed puzzles? Where were the violent death scenes? They were nowhere and I was angry that Re-Cycle turned out to be its own movie with its own themes. Go figure.
Months later I started to think of the movie more and more. I thought to myself, "Yeah, that movie was mediocre, but that one scene was really cool." Then I pondered, "Wow, that other scene was sweet too, and that other one was awesome." Eventually, I decided to give it another go. That "other go" happened last night, and I ended up watching one heck of a movie.
The fantasy elements kick in at around the 40-minute mark, but Re-Cycle doesn't stoop to boring you during the opening segments with superfluous exposition. From minute one it grabs you with some well-executed (albeit conventional) horror elements that become much less conventional during a second viewing when you identify references to the main theme of the film.
Once the fantasy elements hit, Re-Cycle becomes a non-stop fantasy adventure. I cannot remember a horror film in recent memory with such relentless pacing. Much of this is owed to its fragmented transport of the lead protagonists. They may escape one danger by going through a door, but on the other side of that door is a completely different environment that is no less perilous. Some have criticized Re-Cycle for being scattershot and unfocused, but I would respectfully disagree considering how almost every single horror element references back to the overarching theme of the film. It's no masterpiece, but it works quite well especially when you identify the references upon a second viewing.
I truly feel sorry for Hollywood fanboys. East Asian cinema already mops the floor with Western cinema in terms of scriptwriting, cinematography, hand-to-hand action sequences, sound, youthful acting talent, and sheer originality (just to name a few). Now, they've given us a fantasy film that mops the floor with the excessively bloated, overrated, self-indulgent twaddle known as Lord of the Rings.
Take the ending to Re-Cycle as an example. The finale within the Transit realm is quite simply the most intense, incredible fantasy sequence I've ever seen. I must admit that I've rewatched that scene about 30 times over the past few days. I'm totally, unequivocally ADDICTED to it. It's so much better than any scene in LOTR.
Better yet, I didn't have to slug through a bunch of generic characters speaking painfully generic dialogue while walking very, very slowly within vast landscapes for 600 friggin minutes like LOTR. Nor did I have to sit through half a dozen superfluous, drawn-out endings stacked one on top of the other. That might be the formula for winning Oscars and attracting moviegoers who like their fantasy films as vanilla as humanly possible, but I personally like my fantasy films with some oh, I don't know emotion. In a nutshell, Re-Cycle elicited some excitement (especially near the end), whereas LOTR stagnated in a realm of perpetual boredom.
On a side note, I can't really understand why Oxide Pang is so relentlessly criticized (to the point of unreasonableness) by so many people. It's exceedingly ironic that the people who complain about his scripts are the very same people who shout "masterpiece" when referring to those Japanese horror flicks from the 1960s (which will remain nameless) that have some of the worst scriptwriting in the history of horror cinema. In addition, Oxide's use of camera and sound is exceptional, and probably second only to Ryuhei Kitamura or Christopher Doyle.
Nothing this guy does is ever good enough for anyone, even though his movies are better than 90% of everyone else's. Diary, The Detective, Abnormal Beauty, Re-Cycle, The Eye, and Revenge (from the Bangkok Haunted anthology) combine to form the most impressive recent horror/thriller portfolio outside of Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Compare Oxide Pang to any American horror director and guy becomes an instant legend.
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