21 September 2014

** Two Hundred and Seventy **

First and foremost, this post will and obviously contain spoilers. So if you don't want your movie ruined don't read further.


So I caught Afterimages this weekend.

It's basically about these five people on their break. Staying together at some heritage house owned by one of their relatives (or somewhere down that line). It's starts with the introduction and background on the burning of effigies for the dead, more on the items burnt such as cars, mobile phones, houses, and a camera. And things take a curious turn when they realize they could sorta "communicate" with the other side and work in a sort of "trading system" with them whereby they burn cameras for films. So here's where you get your array of horror films from hell (won't spoil it all for you :3 yet). As usual greed takes over and things take for a horrid turn.

Overall it was an amazingly directed and written film by Tony Kern. I enjoyed the film as a whole. I loved the creative transitions and cuts. The little bits of jump scares that came off pretty well. Not over done. Just the right amount. The premise was really interesting and the concept definitely had me intrigued. That the "sending" worked both ways instead of one, like we know it to be. The storytelling was pretty clear and not much prior knowledge needed to understand and follow the film, which I think is really awesome for a film like this that dwells with cultural beliefs. I loved how there were a few seconds of cultural elements, like the third eye opening in the first tale that was well slotted in. Just enough for anyone paying attention to notice it and anyone who accidentally blinked didn't. 

Me having to point that out to my boyfriend and then later have one of the actors point it out to his other friends while explaining felt weird. XD but mere coincidence nonetheless. 

I felt like the stories gravitated from being horror to just a thriller. I was at the edge of my seat during the first story, that carried the superstition of not swimming in the pool at night for the ghost will pull you down and drown you. But i was really disappointed when it gravitated to the "better" spirits. I expected it to escalate as I progressed into the film but it sorta died off. The 2nd last story was a thriller-ish story about the girl with susuk. Personally enjoyed having a Malaysian tale represented in there (cuz i love my country). But it ended with her just pulling out the needles and growing old while everyone else escaped. I was honestly expecting more. It was like riding a roller coaster and enjoying that first drop and missing all the loop-de-loops that follow. 

The film had a handful of amazing acting talent in there and I enjoyed most of it. But I honestly think the film falls slightly short in a sense there were a few bad acting in it that made me question how they even got through auditions. The voice-overs were slightly off and it kinda brought me to my nerves a bit. Didn't really stop me from enjoying the movie but it's definitely in the back of my mind throughout the film. There were parts where the effects were a bit too overwhelming and I felt like there wasn't a need for so much of it. Honestly being an animator, I felt the cgi could've been better. There were scenes in the film with really "cheap" cgi that really threw the quality of the film way off. But it was an amazing idea to have the ghoul reassemble. I loved the foreshadowing of her being chopped into pieces as he was constantly seen choping chicken if not obsessing over that ring. I felt a bit disconnected between the cgi and reality in this tale but I saw why it was necessary. 

It was a nice little mood lightener to add a little bit of comedy into the film. I loved the variety of how the stories were told. The chekhov's gun with the lady's finger was pretty nice play on Asian cuisine (being a fan of lady's fingers myself). I don't blame the predictability of the tales. We pretty much expect the same for every horror tale told. The execution however was awesome. I loved the colour play in the film entirely it was very well done. The film had a couple of interesting ways that played with how we see "things" through our peripheral vision and kind of implemented it into the shots in the film which I think was a really creative move and thumbs up for that. I liked the ambiguity of the cries of the baby whenever something creepy happened in the tale where the lady jumped from the 29th floor. It had me a bit confused and wanting to actually figure out why was there this random baby crying sound whenever the spirit appeared or did something. The only down side on this tale was the reference to the grudge. Honestly I find this portrayal of ghost bit over done by now. I understand the grudge is a pretty iconic Japanese horror film. But really... Was a bit disappointed to see it in the midsts of all the creativity that the film has offered me.

The ending however came a little abrupt for me. Like they were rushing it. Honestly it has put me in a love-hate relationship with it. So they burned in hell and died. The fire effects in this scene was one of the tiny downsides to the film. It was very cheap. Not sure if they actually rushed through the editing or what. I liked the introduction of the original occupant of the place (that I didn really think it was important cuz it was pretty clear it was a portal between both works already). It was a nice little add to the ending where there were 6 bodies but you've been following these 5 college students. I found it slightly comedic how the spirits actually still gave film for trade with the extra cameras they made that never burnt that eventually burnt in the fire anyway. Didn't really have time to read the labels on the film stack. Makes me a bit curious about what films were sent over. 

Overall, the film is definitely worth the watch if you're into a little horror or just cultural films. The multiple timelines definitely kept the film interesting and you entertained. What it lacks in cgi, it makes up for in the amazing story telling and interesting camera angles. Definitely great effort for a local film. 

But when you sit down and think about it. Who actually made the film you are watching? After all it was supposed to be their film entitled "Afterimages" that consisted of all these clips.


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