Thursday, October 12, 2006

Silk (Gui Si)


Two reasons why I watched this. First, I've been recommended this film by a friend. Secondly, it starred Barbie Hsu - with a name like that, why shouldn't I want to watch this? Ok, so I know she starred in the Taiwanese pop-drama television series Meteor Garden, and am just curious to see her in yet another horror movie. And since I'm in post-birthday celebrations, I also learnt she's a day older than me.

Ok, so I'm digressing. Silk is a horror movie, and quite a decent one at that. Although it uses the all too familiar ghostly boy character, this boy, unlike recent predecessor seen in Dorm, is very much creepier and deadlier. He's the star ghoul, and exhibits a strange behavioural pattern of staying in a particular room and speaking to himself, or so it is thought.

A team of modern day paranormal investigators cum scientists, led by Japanese Hashimoto (Yosuke Eguchi), recruits a police hotshot with special powers of lip reading, sharp shooting, and that peculiar sixth sense, Ye Qi-Dong (Chang Chen), to unravel the mystery of the boy. However, Hashimoto has an ulterior motive into his research, which has spawned an anti-gravity device called the Menger Sponge, that can be used to entrap spirits, and in liquid spray form, allows the user to see the paranormal.

The movie relies on some hokey physics theories to bring across some ideas and its premise. It tries to explain the phenomenon of spirits and ghosts and how they come about, using some scientific explanation that they are forms of energy. Watch this movie to see if you agree to the conditions presented to turn someone into a spirit that roams the earth, rather than to dissipate into nothingness upon death. But don't get me wrong, it does make for some interesting story development (hey it's fiction/science fiction anyway).

At its core, this movie dwells on themes of existence, family, and again the human emotions of love and hate. I thought Chang Chen did well in the role of the officer who, despite his super abilities, still find it difficult to grapple with new inexplicable experiences, and at the same time, the critical illness of his beloved mother, and trying to maintain a relationship of sorts. The rest of the cast did ok, but in my opinion, noted more for their eye candy presence.

There are truly genuine scary moments in this movie, which was seriously lacking in recent horror releases. Although most are much ado about nothing, or relied on the usual tricks up the horror sleeve with smart manipulation of editing and music, it did provide what I thought was an explanation on how offerings to spirits are possibly handled, through the use of well placed and polished special effects.

In summary, what works for Silk is its semblance of a decent story, and the ending which was satisfactory, given its at times hilarious build up during the tense final (what's up with all these Ringu homages, made plain ridiculous and full of cheese) and unexpected twist of a logical flaw. It's also touching and sad at times, and for those who are of softer hearts, it might bring about some tears.

Do take note though, with its PG rating locally, much of the gore were censored out, in really ugly means. Very jarring to the entire flow of the movie.

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