"Leon Lai won Best Actor for his overall less than one hour of screen time with zero expression and nothing much to do except bathe the naked corpse. By the way I wrote this sentence I am sure you'll know how I felt about his win"
Thailand, Korea & Hong Kong aka truly Asia.
Which Is ...
Actually 3 stories in one film, all has some sort of supernatural theme, a collaboration but with an independent individual artistic license between three renowned directors from Thailand, Korea and Hong Kong.
Unfortunately, can't seem to find any cast list on this film. If my memory serves me right, the third story, from Hong Kong features the "talents" of Leon Lai, Eric Tsang and one unknown naked lady who acts as the corpse.
Story No. 1 : Thailand
In Thailand, there is a conflict between the puppet show and the human live version, where the former is much, much more popular. In one village, an old master of such puppet shows died an agonising death and there begins the fight for the puppets which he left behind. One old master took the puppets and used it to stage his very much acclaimed shows, only to suffer the consequences as the puppets are cursed. Whoever, by greed or even by whatever intention, who uses the puppets for anything at all, will suffer some horrible and agonising death. As the village began to crumble under such a curse, one man who hacked his wife and her lover to death (who was actually possessed by the demons in these puppets) ran away with his only daughter only to see the worst of the puppets demonic intentions. If the old puppet master were given a choice, a second chance not to take the puppets knowing very well the consequences, would he have taken such a chance? This question was posed towards the end of the movie and it is for you to find out what his actions would be.
Story No. 2 : Korea
One man reported that his wife was missing for days and went in search of her whilst the wife woke up in the middle of an abandoned street with amnesia, not knowing who she is and why she is there. Whilst the man searched for his wife, he is haunted by the memory of her in his living room with nothing but a couch and a small bag, the woman wandered around aimlessly and into an abandoned toilet only to realise the awful, horrible truth why she was there in the first place.
Story No. 3 : Hong Kong
Eric Tsang moved into an old flat with his only son and kept seeing a little girl running around everywhere. The building is old and spooky, and occupied by an equally elusive young Chinese medicine man, Leon Lai who was always carrying bags of herbal leaves into the garbage area. One day Eric woke up to discover his son was missing. Fearing the worst, and thinking he was kidnapped by the weird Leon Lai, he wandered into Leon's unkempt home and to his horror found a young beautiful corpse. Without knowing what had happened, Leon kept Eric as a prisoner whilst Eric saw the moody Leon lovingly bathe his dead wife in a big bath tub filled with herbs. Eric later found out that the wife was suffering from a deadly disease and with the hope to revive her later on, Leon strangled his wife to death (with the consent of the wife) and used the herbs which are meant to revive her 3 years on. For 3 solitary years Leon spoke lovingly to the corpse but by the end of the last day, her body remained motionless. As the health authorities hauled Leon into a van and the corpse into a morgue, Eric who pitied Leon but felt Leon was in fact insane, saw a tape which would change his mind forever.
3 stories in one seems to be the trend of horror movies these days. I wonder is it because the film makers thought one whole movie about the same thing would not keep the attention of viewers? Or is this like a Value Meal, you get three styles in one film?
Anyway, I was excited to watch this movie, but left the cinema disappointed.
If I am supposed to be spooked, the first movie didn't spook me. It has it moments but the special effects, which was non-existent and therefore, the overall feel of the 1st story is one word; one word to describe everything; CHEAP. Very cheap. So 2 words. The story becomes illogical towards the end. Of course ghost stories aren't supposed to be logical but at least give me a logical platform. We do not know where the puppets came from, why they were cursed the way they were cursed, how, where, what and why. Nothing except that they were cursed - you touch you die. Which is so boring. Definitely not a good start for the film.
Which I would rank as the best amongst the 3, with some nifty and stylish camera work. When the woman woke up in the middle of the street, you could feel the loneliness of the surroundings, awfully quiet and therefore you knew something was wrong. When the camera focused on the deadpanned looks of the husband, I couldnt really decide whether that was a look of worry or perhaps just deadpanned. I find the performances quite good and the ending, which I had guessed half way through the story, was very interesting and very sad for the woman. You'd know a perfect crime was perpetrated and the poor woman is left wandering as an aimless and homeless spirit.
Leon Lai won Best Actor for his overall less than one hour of screen time with zero expression and nothing much to do except bath the naked corpse. By the way I wrote this sentence I am sure you'll know how I felt about his win; which is ridiculous. Leon Lai has never been a great actor of any range; he was at best wooden in here. Supposed to be sympathetic to his character's predicament but I am not. Why he won I am not very sure, but the story itself isn't thought provoking or anything deep. If anything, the whole mood of the story is so darn boring. Eric Tsang looked more out of place than he should be; I mean Eric Tsang is usually a credible actor.
I do not know what the significance of the girl was, probably a child Leon and his dead wife could have had. One point I must note though; the lady who played the corpse did quite a good job. Staring straight ahead exactly like a corpse and yet her mouth, as Leon imagined it as moving, talking to his character. Quite spooky and yes, plenty of naked flesh, a glimpse of her breasts...frankly, nothing sexual or sensual but frankly, rather sad. I mean she's dead, a husband working overtime to revive the woman he loved, a woman he killed for love and sacrificing 3 years of his life, for love and at the end? What's the reward? Still dead. The story of course isn't pointless but because of the slow-mo type of story-telling, the point was lost to me towards the end. Frankly I didn't care if Leon was a revived corpse and whether the wife will be revived or not. Did I reveal too much?
The story begins with something strange, fueled on with something sinister and ends with a twist. You get ghosts in here but the main theme is less supernatural and more thriller. No special effects, just some old school type camera work which is really boring. If you want my honest opinion, this is one of the few movies from Asia which could be said to be above the standards of the usual Asian fare but by my own standards, it's still not good enough.