1942. Malaya. Sgt. YASUO FUJII, a war cameraman,
is huddled in a trench, waiting to film the Japanese 6th Army
cross the Slim River on its way south to Kuala Lumpur. An
enemy mortar shell lands in the trench and, in a heartbeat,
Sgt. FUJII is running through the jungle for his life. Armed
with nothing except his 8mm camera, the young soldier soon
hooks up with remnants of the scattered 6th Army. Together
with three soldiers, he must race against time to get a fatally
wounded soldier back to the division in Kuala Lumpur. However,
everything starts to go wrong and they get lost in the maze-like
jungle. All their maps are wrong and their radio malfunctions.
Sgt. FUJII starts sighting mysterious figures through his
camera’s viewfinder, and a female ghost starts to haunt
them. Survival is at stake and the ghost is hot on their heels.
Will they make it to safety?
If reviews are to be trusted, Kelvin Tong’s latest work
Men In White
seems to be a scarily bad piece of mess. A local director
mixing horror with comedy? The idea didn’t sound quite
right from the beginning.
wait, before we condemn Tong to trashy filmmaking hell, let’s
take a look at what he has to offer in this straight-to-video
release about a group of Japanese soldiers who are stuck in
Malaya’s thick jungles. They have a wounded compatriot
who needs to return to headquarters for treatment. And true
to Tong’s genes for making horror films, a female ghost
is thrown in this drama set in, you’ve guessed it, 1942.
reviewer has not picked up the courage to watch Men In White
(no thanks to the unkind reviews everywhere), but he thinks
that this DVD movie is considerably spine-chilling. You can
feel the looming suspense and danger throughout the film’s
84 minutes. Towering trees and thick bushes only escalate
the fear felt by the characters.
film is boldly shot in Japanese (does that mean that Tong
is our very own Clint “Letters From Iwo Jima”
Eastwood?), and from a Singaporean’s point of view,
it is authentic enough to pass off as a foreign picture.
cast of unknowns also make viewing more comfortable (there
are no stars like Ken Watanabe to distract you here), as you’d
be concentrating on the characters’ fates. Couple that
with a technically capable cinematography and a haunting main
theme (you will hear it at the DVD menu page), and you’d
have a eerie time watching this film.
the characters do not seem to be doing much except running
from place to place most of the time, and that the “twist”
at the end is less than surprising, the film is still an engaging
watch, considering the tons of other slipshod horror movies
in the market.
there is still hope in local filmmakers’ talent for
directing horror movies. Just as you are about to feel disappointed
for Tong’s dismay (after all, he did helm the critically
acclaimed Eating Air and
The Maid), pick this
DVD up and go on a supernatural journey into the unknown world
of spirits and ghosts.
This Code 3 DVD contains two teasers and a trailer.
disc’s visual transfer showcases the luscious green
trees and bushes beautifully, while the film is presented
in its original Japanese soundtrack.
by John Li