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Very Scary and Underrated Ghost Story
claudio_carvalho21 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Jason Tsai (Terry Chen), his wife Sarah (Jaime King) and their six year- old son Sam (Regan Oey) live in Shanghai and they need to travel to the Pacific Northwest in North America in the Hungry Ghost Month for the funeral of Jason's Uncle Raymond (Colin Foo). Raymond and Aunt Mei (Cheng Pei Pei) owned a family factory in the basement of their house, and Jason was raised by them. Further, Raymond founded a Benevolent Society fifty years ago and he was also known as The Bone Collector since he exhumed the bones of the immigrants and shipped them back to China.

Sam begins to see spirits everywhere and a pharmacist (Henry O) feels that the boy and Sarah have sensitive souls and he advises that the Hungry Ghost Month is a dangerous period for people that can see spirits. He explains that angry ghosts can become demons and the realms of the living and the dead intercept and the dead can walk in the world of the living.

Sarah and Aunt Mei do not like each other but they stay in her house. Sooner Sam mysteriously falls into a coma and the doctors can not find an answer for his problem. Sarah sees the ghost of a woman and finds a grave box in the former factory. She returns to see the pharmacist and he tells that the box belonged to a woman named Shen-Lu. Further, he tells that Sarah needs to go to the world of the dead to retrieve the soul of her beloved son.

"They Wait" is a very scary and underrated ghost story, and one of the best I have seen this year. This DVD has been just released in Brazil and I had lower expectations based on the unfair IMDb User rating of 5.1.

The screenplay is very well written with a complex ghost story. The special effects are excellent and in right doses. The scene when the stranger asks Sam if he likes ghost is one of the best I have ever seen in horror films.

The beautiful Jaime King has great performance and I admire this actress very much since she is a survivor from heroin addiction. There are some minor mistakes in the edition that do not affect the final result. "They Wait", together with "Insidious" (2010), are the best horror films that I have seen this year. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Espíritos Famintos" ("Hungry Spirits")
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Scary stuff
ctomvelu112 March 2011
I have reviewed this under another name. I saw it again today and am as impressed with it now as I was on first viewing. Jamie King and family return to North America after living in China. Her young son falls ill and apparently is possessed by a vengeful spirit. As she seeks to find a way to save him, King begins to unravel an unspeakable mystery involving Asians working in a nearby sweatshop. To say more would be to give it away. This is a terrific little ghost movie/crime flick with plenty of scary images and some moments that will make you jump right out of your seat. Some Chinese folklore is woven into the plot, although I do not know if is the real thing or not. Highly recommended. It pops up on cable once in awhile.
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amazingly good
parkville30 June 2010
I am so accustomed to silly, poorly written and acted films on the SciFi channel it was an enormous surprise when this film aired last night. A bit too good of a surprise as I was so disturbed by a scare early in the film I ended up staying up entirely too late - too unhinged to go to bed and turn off the lights.

I now know this wasn't made by the SciFi channel although I don't recall ever hearing of it before or seeing a theatrical release.

Above average acting (the little boy and female lead are more than competent), an original plot and that scare toward the beginning of the film still gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. Really didn't see it coming - sounds as if it may be revealed in some trailer - DON'T WATCH THE TRAILER! Oh, and best of all, a real horror film, not that nauseating torture porn that passes as horror these days.

Also - good cinematography and adequate special effects. There is so little decent horror made these days that isn't just played for laughs or the gross-out factor. Worth staying up to watch - I promise you won't desperately wish to get that 2 hours of your life back!
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Atmospheric thriller
ctomvelu-14 April 2009
Jaime Kinmg stars as a young mom in THEY WAIT, a murder mystery and ghost story rolled into one. She travels to the state from her home in Shaghai to attend a funeral. Weird things begin to happen almost immediately, including the son sliding into a trance-lie state and a mute young Chinese woman popping up and then disappearing again. Lovers of ghost movies, especially ones with a revenge plot, will figure out the plot early on, but they are likely to be surprised by the ultimate solution. We get a little Chinese folklore mixed in to spice things up. King is the only recognizable name in the cast, and appears in virtually every scene. She does a fine job as a harried mother trying to make sense of the many odd things that happen to her. The movie is atmospheric and occasionally scary. It is in the vein of THE OTHERS and SIXTH SENSE.
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Vancouver ghost story is a real gem!
michael.will31 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
A young Canadian, mixed-race family (he's Asian, she's Euro, and they have a westernized 11-year-old) have their prosperous life in go-go modernday Shanghai interrupted by a mysterious family death back home. This takes them back to Vancouver's Chinatown, where they experience culture shock in reverse. The couple find themselves at odds over the very cultural pressures they once fled, while their little boy, a born psychic like his denying mother, finds himself the innocent target of malevolent spirits. From there the terror mounts.

An extremely well mounted and well written supernatural thriller, both quietly eerie and scream-inducing horrific. Believable characters (nothing "Cleavers" about this troubled but loving couple) and no cheap thrills -- any horror moments are clearly explained in this one, as part of its intricate plot. Sometimes to a fault -- the odd snatch of dialogue is a bit too explanatory -- but it feels like a great horror director hit-and-missing at a great skill, in his movies to come.

Another great treat of this film is spotting those wonderful older Chinese character actors, whom I've seen around for years, doing their "Rosemary's Baby" turn as fabulously diabolical oldtimers.
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An Asian style ghost story without all the clichés
Sabalon27 May 2008
Don't get me wrong, I love The Ring, The Grudge, and most J-Horror movies with the jerky movement ghosts and tales of revenge.

However this movie seemed to be able to communicate the same concepts that make the Asian ghost stories so intriguing without resorting to all the same clichés. And when they do decide to throw in a jump scene, it is usually not where you expect it or completely out of nowhere.

It is a simple story that has been told over and over, but this adds and Asian twist with concepts such as Hungry Ghost Month and Spirit Money without alienating a western audience.

Overall the story is pretty predictable and that is the only downside to this movie. Once you figure out what is going on, it's pretty much a "which road will they take to the end" as opposed to a surprise around each corner. The acting is pretty decent for this type of flick. The kid actually does a good job - never know how they will do in these.

I would recommend this if you want to introduce some of the elements of a good Asian horror story without all the oddness that is directly copied in some of the other remakes. Many of the concepts of the genre are there without the kabuki inspired movements.
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Sleeper Hit of Toronto Festival
metro-broadway2 October 2007
I caught this at the Toronto Festival like the other reviewer and was very surprised by how entertaining it was. A terrific ghost story. Jaime King puts in a very strong performance and the whole cast is solid. It's been a while since I've witnessed entire audiences jumping in fright and screaming. There is incredible atmosphere in the film and the underlying story is actually quite brilliant in the way it combines multiple cultures, the immigrant experience, Chinese folklore and actual history and fuses it into a genuine crowd-pleasing genre film. Highly original on that front. I'm a pretty well-rounded J-horror freak-boy and I couldn't see any clichés here which was amazing. Great work from director Barbarash as well.

I'm giving it an 8 as it was certainly the cream of the Canadian film crop at the festival (not withstanding Eastern Promises, which is not a Canadian story with Canadian actors). There is an obvious very large audience for it and it's well made. Looking at the IMDb scores, while I write this, there's a couple dozen 1's dragging the score down. How could that be? This is a pretty good film! Is this because Uwe Boll has his name attached as an executive producer? People are rating it with 1's and trashing it on their blogs without even seeing it. Sad. What a shame for the sincere filmmakers behind this quality movie.
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A Shockingly Good Ghost Movie
Paul_Kael17 October 2007
Seeing THEY WAIT at the Vancouver Festival, people were screaming at the scares, and the audience broke out into applause after a tense, white-knuckle 89 minutes. THEY WAIT leaps into action with a highly engaging first half, and then escalates quickly into a harrowing and riveting second part. Surprisingly strong performance from Jaime King and excellent turns by the rest of the cast. THEY WAIT - quite frankly - really does have blockbuster theatrical hit written all over it as another commentator has said, and has remarked the only legitimate print journalist to review it so far; everything, from the visuals to the performances, seems to be operating at a Hollywood movie level, far beyond its budget and seemingly nothing like the usual unpopular and noncommercial Canadian film disasters. Does this film mark the return to the days when Canadian films like SCANNERS or PORKY'S could take the box office crown away from the Hollywood studios? People applauding at the end, swarming around the lobby talking about how good it was -- that tells you everything you need to know about the reception to the film by an audience. With a decent release and a good ad campaign, this will be a hit. Though not perfect -- there is a certain clunkiness to a flashback sequence, for example -- the film is a revelation in doing what it sets out to do. It bangs virtually every mark. Director Ernie Barbarash has grown leaps and bounds from his previous efforts with the mediocre to dull low-rent CUBE ZERO and has hit the Hollywood Standard here. This film shines and looks and sounds terrific.

Paul Kael @ rotten tomatoes
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Crept out to the very core
ShaniaPerry27 March 2008
I've watched many Asian horror movies so I can easily predict where ghosts would appear. I can't say the same for the film. Unless you've watched the trailer. So if you really want to be shocked by suspenseful ghost's appearance, DON'T WATCH THE TRAILER. The plot of the story is pretty much given away by the trailer as well. Although, throughout the movie, you'll be given some clues and you'll be able to figure out what's the cause nearing the end. The music plays well the intense moments giving good build-up to anticipation. The mother and son's actings are great but not the father's but he doesn't play a big role so it doesn't affect the movie. The rest of the casting is great. A definitely good scream movie to watch at the cinema with friends!
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Perfect For Late Night Television
Mr_Saxon28 March 2008
After the release of Japan's "Ringu", Eastern horror became extremely popular in the west and lead to a series of remakes including "The Grudge" and "The Ring". "They Wait" isn't a remake of an existing Eastern horror but an original production in which an American mother (played by Jaime King) and her six year old son find themselves facing the ghosts of the Chinese community into which they have arrived from Shanghai. Although it may not be based on a Japanese or Chinese horror movie, "They Wait" unfortunately comes across like a compilation of greatest hits from such productions.

There's one very good scare quite early in the movie but, once this is over, everything else comes across as quite tame. "They Wait" also unfortunately employs some terrible CGI effects in places. Some of the ghosts (especially those seen before the titles roll) look like something from a Playstation game! This is quite surprising as the rest of the movie looks to have had quite a bit of money thrown at it and director Ernie Barbarash (who also directed "Cube: Zero") knows how to make his movie look extremely polished.

The lead performances are all very good (Ms King, in particular, proves to be a strong center for the story) but the plot is quite uninspired. You'll quickly guess what's going on and who is responsible, and the way in which things are resolved also leaves a lot to be desired. But is it a bad movie? No, not at all. If you catch it on television late at night, you'll probably be perfectly entertained throughout its running time and enjoy something that has many charms amongst its faults. If you pay money to rent it out, however, you might feel you've wasted money on something that seems incredibly similar to so many other movies.

At the time of writing, this movie has a 3.8 score on IMDb which is, in my opinion, completely unjustified. I've seen a few movies deserving of a score like that and this movie certainly isn't one of them! I can guess at the reason for this, and that reason would be the presence of a certain Uwe Boll who most movie fans will know as the director of a growing library of terrible movies (Alone In The Dark, In The Name Of The King, Bloodrayne etc). However, it's worth pointing out that Uwe Boll was simply the producer here. He didn't write this movie and he certainly didn't direct it!

In summary then, "They Wait" is an inoffensive horror movie which works nicely as a late night time-waster but not much more.
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Excellent & fresh ghost story, terribly under-rated!
daggersineyes19 October 2013
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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A boring Chinese Poltergeist story
siderite26 July 2009
Oh no, they didn't let them rest. And now they have awakened. Or something of the sort. They used all the clichés of the genre: Chinese obscure habits, disturbed bones, demons that take a child hostage while the mother must perform some sort of task while no one is helping except "the old sage". Also the usual scene that begins in a way and ends in blood or scary deformed faces or other things like that. Don't forget the sudden loud violin sounds and sudden movements.

Yes, you have seen it before. And as long as you will watch this kind of recycled junk, you will continue seeing it. My advice is to boycott such farces and make way for real movies.
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A Good Solid Horror Movie
zzoaozz27 August 2012
This movie is a very entertaining ghost story. It really deserves a higher rating than it has got on here. The acting is good even if the mom does come across as a little hysterical at times. The story is well developed and the characters well fleshed out. Shanghai provides an interesting backdrop to the story. The production quality is very good and special effects used sparingly to great effect. It really isn't anything new, but that is not always a bad thing.

If you like ghost stories or just horror movies in general, you will find this one satisfying and worth the time.

Please disregard the low rating this movie has. Apparently there is a lot of hatred for Uwe Boll and even though he was not director, he was listed in the credits and a herd of haters went through and gave everything related to him a 1 whether they had watched it or not.
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Engaging, Intriguing, Supernatural Horror/Thriller; Well worth watching!
MissOceanB25 August 2012
They Wait is definitely under-rated. It is an excellent creepy, cultural, historical and not far off from events that DID occur in Vancouver BC and other such Pacific coast cities. This movie contains a lot of fascinating moments and will leave even the most unshakeable supernatural horror fans with a chill. It is interesting to hear about (and see) the historical and cultural aspects of this film and their are some great "shock" moments that unfold in a well-written and acted way. Not clear as to why this movie is not widely known as it is definitely worth viewing and, although everyone will have their own likes/dislikes/opinions about the film (and all films as we draw our own conclusions), I highly recommend giving it a chance. Culturally and historically, quite accurate. Very well done, great story.
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They wait review
yew-kimkeong30 November 2010
I usually don't enjoy watching horror movies. So I seldom make a point to watch. This one I somehow watch it by accident and I must admit that I was surprised with the quality of the story line, plots and also the acting.

For those who don't understand Chinese culture particularly about ghost festival you may learn something from this movie although the major part of the movie were exaggerated. I totally agreed that the review of 4.5 were not doing justice to this movie. It is certainly much more than that. Certainly not 10 of 10 but it should be quite high up there.

Do I recommend anyone to watch this movie? I would give a big YES especially those who love to ghost movies.
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An Exceptional Production - Blockbuster Potential!
Beerhunter-511 September 2007
Caught this movie at the first TIFF screening and I've got to say it was exceptional! Imagine this: A truly original storyline for once with a tie between eastern and western cultures and Chinese mythology and current traditions (i.e. Ghost Month).

Excellent cinematography, acting, special effects and a truly scary jump out of your seat thrill ride. It's rare when a movie gets to me now days like this one but it's incredibly eerie and dark. Lot's a screaming and spilled popcorn guaranteed!!! My wife has had nightmares for the last week. So yeah, I give it a full 10/10!! This will be Big, easily as big as White Noise maybe even close to The Ring. This puts Canada on the Map for Horror movies for sure. The best movie of this type I've seen for years. Be sure to check it out.
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goof and personal opinion
placido_raul_727 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
in the scene in the shower, when Jaime King is putting the coat on, u can clearly see shes wearing something to not be naked on the set, they should hide that.... anyway this movie was excellent! and i cant wait some friends to watch it too and jump out of their seats...i think this flick doesn't have enough publicity as it deserves, Jaime King made a great performance! i think, better than she did on "The Tripper" i can say "more conventional"...this movie have an original plot, an amazing thrill and keep you waiting for more, maybe is not the film of the year of course but i guarantee that you won't be bored watching it, i'm very satisfied, i'm a fan of Horror Movies and i give a 10 out of 10!
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rlange-321 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I'm having a hard time actually figuring out why this just wasn't a very good movie, because the component parts were not that bad individually. Acting was OK, but not great. The plot was reasonable although nothing special. The Asian elements to the story were interesting but hardly compelling. Special effects average. Cinematography a bit weak but not horrible.

Hmmm. I'm beginning to see a pattern here. Everything is just... average at best. There's no spark, no pizazz, nothing to make you really get scared, excited, thrilled, grab the edge of your seat. It's just -- meh.
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A reasonably good movie ...
amitindia200831 March 2008
I read some mixed reviews before watching takes a bit more to please me as an horror movie buff. I felt the story line was innovative, movie had good number of scares without much of blood around.

The main lead was good but probably some nudity would have added more flavour to the movie. Good effort overall. Probably there could have been more gore and blood in the movie to keep all the horror fans happy.

It was not as scary as Grudge or Ring but it was still reasonably good absolutely not a time waster. Its definitely worth a watch.

I would give it a 6.
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Average horror flick
gee-6029 May 2008
I like horror, and horror in the true sense of being scared by a movie. This had a few jumps in it, but nothing terrifying.

The main problem with it was the story. It was very, very all over the place. You're not sure if it's a monster movie, a ghost story or a horror film. And it keeps you guessing right up till the end...and I'm still not sure.

If the story had been written well, the film would have been good. The acting was not bad, nothing outstanding. The direction was again, OK, a few good moments are spoilt by a few bad ones.

Watch it late at night, with the lights off, you'll most likely enjoy it. Just try not to follow the plot too closely, coz it's not a very good one.
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Ghost story
naffy117 August 2008
I found this film to be a delight to watch. I like my horror films but so many these days fail to give me a scare, However this one gave me quite a few jumps. The storyline was excellent and the film flowed nicely and was the perfect length approx 90 minutes. I also found the acting to be of a very high standard in this film, although I knew none of the actors in it. If you are going to watch this film then may i recommend it to be watched at a very late time. Get the popcorn out and the hoover because you are gonna be jumpy. I cannot understand why this film has an average of 4.4 (It seems some people are just far too critical) I am giving this a 10/10 so go watch it now you will not be disappointed
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One of the best in the genre
kannibalcorpsegrinder9 September 2015
A woman follows her husband to his ancestral home in China to bury his recently-deceased father, and comes face to face with a deadly curse that is hell-bent on making her and her family suffer for their crimes in the past.

This was an awesome and enjoyable ghost film. One of the better aspects to the film is the incredible story, which is perfect for hanging a creepy and suspenseful ghost story around. The way it manages to make the situation with the ghosts' return for vengeance into a wonderfully atmospheric film in the first half. These early scenes, from him wandering into the basement based on noises at the beginning or them walking across the streets with all the stuff set-up regarding the decorations and the intentions behind them allows for some good moments. There's a couple of fantastic ones centered around the drug-store scene, which is so sudden, so unexpected and come sat the perfect beat with the perfect set-up that the scene works gloriously, the rising bear at the fireplace is also classic since it leads into the spectacular factory scene, and the opening attack is great with the woodland setting being used to absolutely perfect effect here, the fog-covered area looks absolutely creepy and foreboding, while the gag with the trees, the growling and jarring camera-work all signify an attack that is absolutely perfect and opens on a high-note. Once it goes into the possession angle, it deals with the physical acts that demonstrate what's happening to him, and there's some really great moments to come from this. The Mandarin encounter works from the dialog and the dyed arms works on pure shock value, which when combined with these other really great moments make it just as good as what came before. The back- story as well works on the revelations later on with a really marvelous twist which is fitting for a ghost's revenge and appearing as time- period appropriate, and as if talking about it isn't enough it plays out in an absolutely fantastic flashback. The ghost's revenge here is also perfect as there's an erupting, endless flow of bones from the room, the arms shooting out from the pile to drag the two away and the later sequence with the one victim vomiting up skeleton bones in an extended, graphic and brutal set-piece really works well. The last plus is the gore, which isn't bad and kept to a minimum but makes it work when it counts as the film's best qualities against the only thing wrong with this one. By doing the possession so late in the film, it makes the ghost look a little weak since they had plenty of contact before, with plenty of opportunities to do so before then, and to then do so at the end is a little suspicious. Also, the manner of possession, by saying it's been done but not explaining how or why, takes a little of the sting out of it. It could've been written in another way, as they don't really play it up later as one, making the proclamation even stranger. Still, beyond this there's more to love here which makes this one so good.

Rated R: Violence, Language and children-in-jeopardy.
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This is a Canadian movie about the Hungry Ghosts Month and set in Shanghai (supposedly) so it's unique, if anything.
eddax27 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I love it when East meets West and I find it cooler still when it's a white girl and an Asian guy pairing. This is a Canadian movie about the Hungry Ghosts Month and set in Shanghai (supposedly) so it's unique, if anything.

Jaime King is a mom whose son has been taken by a vengeful spirit who seeks justice for what happened to her in some sweat shop owned by King's Chinese in-laws. Hence, she seeks spiritual help to enter the ghost realm to discover the truth and find her son. It's actually a story not unlike what would've come out of Hong Kong during its horror movie heyday, so They Wait has the feeling of being yet another Hollywood remake (but it isn't).

The mystery wasn't very deep, but there were a couple of cool scary/creepy scenes, and the actors were good, though I wish Cheng Pei Pei wasn't so understated.
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Predictable ghost fare with a decent back story
Leofwine_draca28 September 2015
THEY WAIT is an entirely routine ghost film in which a couple discover that their young son is being haunted by a vengeful female ghost. We've seen this sort of stuff a zillion times before, and on the face of it this is no different to the normal sort of fare; some below par CGI effects are hardly the thing to instill confidence in the viewer.

And yet, and yet...THEY WAIT is a surprising film. Surprising because the writing surrounding the reason for the ghost's presence is actually decent for once. It's clearly been well thought out, and it's a story that mixes together forced labour, murder, and the hungry ghost festival. Despite the proliferation of Asian ghost films over the last couple of decades, I actually found the back story to be fresh and engaging. It doesn't make THEY WAIT a perfect film, but it is worth a look for fans of the genre on that basis alone.
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Mixture of creepy and fun
begob3 March 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Agree with everyone else on this page - good horror.

It combines American values with Asian ghosts: a prosperous family has its world turned upside down as a dark secret crawls toward the light.

The acting, music, camera work are solid, and there are some nice Asian touches, particularly when the ghost girl appears with her bells tinkling playfully. The pace is good too as the mystery is gradually revealed.

I prefer more creep and menace, but it's not for that kind of audience and the final conflict goes back to American values in a Spielberg style righting of the wrongs.

Produced by ... Uwe Boll.
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