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A couple returns to North America for a family funeral, having lived in Shanghai, China for the previous six years. Soon after they arrive, their son Jamie begins to see ghosts and suffer possession by one of the living dead, and it all ties in with the Chinese festival of Ghost Month, when the doors of hell supposedly open and angry spirits are given the chance to terrorize the living. Written by
I'm not sure how I discovered this little gem but I'm very glad I did. This is a fantastic original story with a creepy moody atmosphere, fair to middling(tho not brilliant) acting and nice cinematography. The kid portraying the youngster is particularly good as well as being cute as a button, which makes things all the more creepy in certain parts of the movie. Unfortunately the actor playing his mother is very wooden which is a shame as she is central to the movie. There is definitely a lack of chemistry between her and the other characters which again undermines the quality of the movie.
On the plus side it has a great original story - this is so important and a bit of a rarity these days. The editing, direction and camera work is top notch and they don't resort to any fancy or pretentious camera tricks. This has it's down side as it could have benefited from at least a little more creativity in the camera work but on balance I'd rather have straight forward visuals than obvious cliché camera tricks. Also worth noting is the special effects which are done extremely well and the, at times, brilliant set pieces. One scene involving a lady vomiting stands out and my favourite was the awesome but all-too-brief appearance of the "guardian". If I have one real criticism of the movie it would be that it needed more scenes like that. I also appreciated the unique revenge sequences.
This is hugely under-rated and unfairly slammed in these reviews. Yes there are better horror &/or ghost stories in existence but this one is definitely one of the better produced and more original of the also- rans. It's also clearly aimed at a family audience as opposed to "adult" so it has dialogue that seems a little unrealistic at times & suffers because of it. But that can easily be over-looked.
Steering well clear of typical clichés and delivering enough shivers & scares to satisfy, this movie is perfect for anyone who enjoys creepy spook flicks. If you're looking for slasher/torture porn and the like you won't find it here. But if you're looking for an atmospheric and entertaining movie for the family to watch this is one of the better ones.
I was also interested in the back story (relating to an animal welfare issue I wont disclose so as not to spoil the story) and impressed that it incorporated an issue that I have a personal interest in. I wish they'd made a little more of that sub-plot but that's just my own interests. Mostly I was pleased to see it being raised in the movie - even as a bit of an aside.
Grab this one and some popcorn & beverages and gather the family round this Halloween.
PS This movie is guaranteed 100% Shaky-cam Free!
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