Aug 30, 2012

Review: Re-Cycle - 2006

Aka: Gwai Wik
Director: Danny & Oxide Pang

Tsui Ting-Yin has written three bestselling novels with love stories which are all based upon her own experiences. Now she’s wringing a horror novel – Re-Cycle, but lacks all inspiration to continue to work with it. Strange events take place and an old boyfriend from eight years ago turns up. He tells her that he’s recently divorced his wife and wants to start over with Tsui-Yin. She won’t listen to it. At the same time a long haired girl from the new book appears and when she follows her, she’s suddenly in a world of nightmares. She doesn’t know what to do but meets a little girl that she starts to like. The girl doesn’t have a name and doesn’t know who she is. Ting-Yin gives the girls the name Ting–Yu. They both seek a way back to the real world but there is a price to be paid before any escape can be made. And the little girl has a secret, what might it be?

The original Chinese title apparently translates into something like ghost land. This makes sense when watching it but I feel it’s a little to easy a way to describe the film. There are nightmarish landscapes and nasty zombies but this isn’t a regular ghost flick and I don’t think you should treat it as such, there are far too many clever turns in the plot, multiple layers of storytelling and so on. I really appreciate that the Pang Brothers put some effort into it.

But even if there’s quite a lot of thought put into the story, it’s still scary – very scary! There are very few movies that I‘d consider to be genuinely scary but this get my vote on the matter! In addition to that, I would also like to claim that the suspense is top-notch and you can hardy wait to get the answers. Maybe some of the twists and surprises can be seen coming fairly easy, but they have a great timing that makes them work anyway.

Some scenes are pompous and beautiful and some makes you feel very concerned about Ting-Yin. The thin line between horror and fantasy is blurred out and that suits me like hand in glove! I feel this makes room for an ever broader story and understandable morals, the bottom line of the movie if you wish. You are even tricked to tremble by some unexpected sound effects. Speaking of that, the music is very good and is unusual prominent for an Asian horror film.

The main actress Angelica Lee is brilliant! She carries much of the movie on her shoulders. Everything revolves around her and there only a few smaller roles to give the illusion of a much larger cast. Apart from that this is a very visual movie. There are patterns that might be made in a computer but the look great anyway. The landscape obviously comes from the main characters subconscious. They look kind of magical, grand and thrills the imagination. They could really originate from any dark tale and they set the tone for all the suspense. There are riddles, zombies and powerful symbolism as clues for Ting-Yins return to reality.

It’s not my thing to praise movies with loads of superlatives but in this case I believe I have to! So as a complement to the above text I would like to add that this film almost scared the crap out of me!

Images: © 2006 Universe Entertainment © 2012 Cine du Monde (UK Licence)

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