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Last Viewed:2004.07.02
Last/Last Reviewed:2004.07.02/2003.01.12

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This is the third segment in a 3-part essay on death (from a horror movie perspective) from three different cultural points of views. All 3 segments are constructed very much like an episode of The Twilight Zone. The first segment is from Korea, the second is from Thailand, and the third (the most interesting in my opinion) is from Hong Kong. Those 3 shorts present a really interesting view of how horror subjects are treated in Asia and were a pleasure for me to watch. All 3 shorts are of very good quality visually, but differ in significant ways in their subject and how they were brought to the screen.

This is the jewel of the collection. That third segment, from Hong-Kong, presents an amazing story, with great performances. This could have been one of the best Twilight Zone episodes ever. A man (Leon Lai in a wonderfully calm performance) takes care of his paraplegic wife. We learn quickly actually that she is dead. The man is an expert in Chinese medicine, and he keeps her body and treats her for her to come back to life. The theory is that by maintaining the body while the soul is away, the body can heal itself, and when it's fully healthy again, the soul comes back and the person comes back to life. Of course, this is quite a wild statement, and a resident in the building who accidentally discovers the setup thinks quite obviously that the man killed his wife and just keeps the body around in a mentally-sick way. But the body is in perfect condition, even though the wife had "died" a few years ago already. Too many things just don't fit the expected realities to make the other resident start doubting.

This is a classic "the crazy guy was actually right" story that really shakes the foundation of the beliefs of the characters and in front of what looks like insanity, makes them actually wonder "what if he is correct?". I really like those types of stories when they are well done. I remember this Twilight Zone episode where a homeless, in the basement of a empty house, keeps a large mesh of objects tied together. He is one day discovered by the social services who take him away. He screams and screams about the "construction" being actually a model of the world, and that if anything happened to a part of it, something similar would happen to the part of the world it represents. The social services officer is full of doubt, goes and sees the "construction" and accidentallt breaks a branch of it. The next day, he sees in the news how an entire city in California was crushed in an earthquake. Now a believer, he goes to take care of the "construction". The mood also matches classics like "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers" (the original, not the horrible remakes).

This is a story that really tickled my fancy. Combined with a great art direction, cinematography and set of performances, we have a very enjoyable short that is reminiscent of the best Twilight Zone episodes. It's a delight. The only thing i'd reproach to the writing and direction is that, given the slow pace of the movie, the ending seems rushed, and get just enough "revelations" to really get excited about how it will finally end, but still not enough in that we end up ultimately frustrated by not having a more rounded up finale.

- Laurent Hasson