Spring Cleaning in the Studio
Art, Escapism, and Despair
Folds and Fabric in Art
A Gift from the Netherworld
News for February!
by Georgette Tan
Genre: Drama / Horror / Mystery / Sci-Fi / Thriller
Director: Su Chao-Bin
Language: Mandarin / Japanese
Cast: Chang Chen, Yosuke Eguichi, Karena Lam Ka-Yan, Barbie Hsu, Wilson Chen, Chang Chun-Ning, Chen Kuan-Po, Wan Fang, Arthur Wong Ngok-Tai.
URL: Official Website
Once again, I'm feeling cheated. I won't have normally gone for Yet Another Asian Horror Movie, but I needed something to rip apart this week and heard that Silk is a good candidate. It only shows that if you go in with negative expectations, you can get disappointed when the flick doesn't suck as much as you hoped.
A crippled Japanese scientist named Hashimoto (Yosuke Eguichi) developed something called the Menger Sponge, an object that seems to do a lot of things - defy gravity, allow a person to do like Cicak-Man and walk on walls. More importantly, it somehow bridges the gap between the human and spirit world... like an antenna that helps you tune into a specific radio station.
Using the Menger Sponge, Hashimoto's team of scientists managed to trap the ghost of a boy (Chen Kuan-Po) in a room of a derelict block of apartments. A spray containing nano particles of the Sponge allows them to see the ghost. That's as far as they are able to go because they can't hear what the boy mumbles to himself and they didn't dare let him out of the room when he tries to leave precisely at 4:30 every afternoon.
Hashimoto enlists the help of Tung (Chang Chen), a lip reader and sharp shooter who comes with his own personal issues included. He is unable to let his dying mother go. He is also unable to commit to his girlfriend Wei (Karena Lam), but for some reason, he spies on her from his car while talking to her on the phone.
Tung's presence did not please team member Su (Barbie Hsu) for reasons that I missed entirely. She attempts to abscond with the ghost boy but ends up being Victim #1 when the escape plans goes awry. When people tell you not to look, it's your cue to look anyway so the audience has something to squeak about, see?
So sultry girl scientist exits stage left and the researchers are left with a Malaysian Ah Beng (no, really) who loves beef noodles, a token girl to generate the team's quota of estrogen, a brooding cop to handle all the action sequences, and a fashionably disheveled Japanese with an ulterior motive and issues of his own... one of which is the fact that we only see his left eye throughout the entire movie because his hair covers everything else.
Their investigations reveal the identity of the boy and how he died. Apparently, he was killed by his crazy mother, whose current whereabouts are a mystery. In the process, Tung begins noticing something else - a fine thread of silk that the boy leaves behind wherever he walks.
When it was time for everyone to die, it got laughably ridiculous. The Ah Beng scientist's alleged cause of death was almost award-winning funny, involving some bad special effects and a huge bowl of beef noodles. In fact, that section of Silk seemed hastily cobbled together, as if someone suddenly realized that the body count had been lacking in the last hour.
For experienced horror cinema buffs, this is nothing we haven't seen before. The scariest part, I thought, was where a hand got involved with a boiling pot of water.
I don't think the aim of this movie was to scare the solid waste material out of us because it's more of a mystery drama with supernatural and sci-fi elements. Not too shabby, and apart from the unfortunate noodle incident, the special effects are actually quite impressive.
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