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Movie Review: Black Night April 19, 2008

Posted by ashiah in old.

Whoever decided to create Black Night knew they could make a quick buck. These PanAsian films are all the rage, don’t you know? Movies like Three, Three…Extremes and, uh, Three…Extremes. It was only time until a new one emerged and here it is, featuring acclaimed directors like, uh, Takahiko Akiyama, um, Tanit Jitnukul and…Patrick Leung. Wait a minute, who the hell are these people?

But then again, it’s not directors that pull people to theaters, it’s the story. Black Night is three stories from three countries.The first one, from Hong Kong, is about a guy (Dylan Kuo) who cheats on his girlfriend, Hosie, with his ex-girlfriend, Jane, who decides to drop by for a surprise visit. Somehow during all these events, the girlfriend becomes a ghost who mopes around leaving puddles of water behind. The ex-girlfriend (a stereotypical chain smoking, guitar playing badass) decides she has had enough of these annoying little puddles and storms into the girlfriend’s apartment. Some spooky things happen and then we find out how Girlfriend A dies. Apparently, it was an awkward mishap involving handcuffs, a marble and a tub full of running water. If you’re chuckling while reading this, then you know this story’s affect. The fact that vengeful ghost/jealous girlfriend is so set on revenge just because she’s so damn clumsy is a weak plot to build a story. But that’s just the first one, there’s still two more.

If you ever have sex in a horror film, expect to die.

From Japan, the second story is about Yuki (Asaka Seto), a woman who can’t keep these pestering ghosts from bothering her. They also leave annoying puddles in her apartment (notice a theme here?) and show up at inopportune times at work, probably to get her fired. She goes to a shrink to see if there’s something wrong with her. Under hypnosis, she is able to remember a pet sea monster she had as a child named Hyu. Yuki believes it is Hyu who does all the killing, which would explain all the drippy ghosts. The shrink, on the other hand, believes it is really Yuki doing the killing, which all leads to the most anti-climatic ending — ever. This story makes the first one seem acceptable. At least “Next Door” had a nice look, while the blurry picture quality of “Dark Hole” looks like an old beat up VHS tape. The acting here is also the worse – it’s either too shrill and annoying, or just dull. Eventually you’re crossing your fingers that the magical sea lion kills everyone.

The last, and from Thailand, starts off promising. Prang (Pitchanart Sakakorn) has amnesia and can’t remember what has happened in the last couple of years. She lives alone with her son and a watery ghost who likes to pop up occasionally. She decides to investigate this ghost and it leads her to a woman named Praew (Nutsha Bootsri) who recently drowned in a pool and apparently used to be her friend pre-amnesia. Things happen and, not to give anything away, but other aspects are revealed and Prang and her husband must fight for their lives against ghostly family members who like to leave slippery soap on the floor near toilets. This story wins simply for being the most unintentionally hilarious.

In case you haven’t noticed, water is the key theme of all three stories. I don’t know if all three directors sat around and planned this or if it was all just some unfortunate mistake. All the ghosts are watery, drippy and look exactly the same. It gets old after the first time you see it. There’s also lots of fish tanks and strange bathroom mishaps. I don’t know what kind of metaphor they were going with this. Maybe one of the directors fell into the toilet as a kid and still can’t get over it. But really, the theme means nothing, which is disappointing.

The PanAsian films were a good idea. It worked well with Three and Three…Extremes, but Black Night is abysmal. It could very well be the movie to end all PanAsian films, and hopefully that doesn’t happen. What they should do is when they bring this to the States, market it as a comedy. This will save the directors, actors and producers from anymore embarrassment. Then, for the next PanAsian film, they’ll remember to go with merit instead of quick cash.



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