Director: Boris Boo
Cast: Henry Thia, Kang Kang, Jessica Liu, Brendan Yuen
RunTime: 1 hr 32 mins
Rating: PG13 (Some Frightening Scenes)
Released By: Clover Films & Cathay-Keris Films
Opening Day: 16 August 2012
Synopsis: Lim has always been unlucky. He is struggling to make ends meet until he chanced upon the ‘Wordless Script’ one day and won lottery! As the winning was marginal, it was soon exhausted when he spent it with Nam and Hui, his two poor roommates cum colleagues who excavate bones from old graves for a living. Unwilling to return to his poor days, Lim approaches the ‘Wordless Script’ for winning numbers again. This time, the Book-Spirit of the “Wordless Script” forewarns Lim that he will have to pay a heavy price, should he wants big winnings. Blinded by greed, Lim agrees to the terms and strikes a deal with the Book-Spirit. As Lim’s life gets better and lavish, he also becomes increasingly dependent on the Book-Spirit, seeking its advice in everything. Soon, the Book-Spirit reveals the price which Lim has to pay for all his riches… and Lim will have to pay with his life! It is only with Lim’s death, that he can be the next Book-Spirit, thus liberating the current Book-Spirit. Little does Lim expects: the richer he gets, the closer he is to his death. At the same time, the greedy gambler in Nam is playing with fire… To satisfy his gambling addiction, he resorted to stealing the accompanying valuables in the coffin during one of the excavations, despite strong objections from Hui. Following Nam’s theft, strange things happened. A vengeful spirit haunts Nam and Hui repeatedly, causing them much distress…The trio of Lim, Nam and Hui can actually lead a decent and peaceful life, but made decisions at various stages of their lives to pursue riches and luxuries without knowing the heavy price they had to pay. Is there really no way for the trio to redeem themselves from this mess? Or is their death the ultimate solution?
How many of horror comedies must we endure before filmmakers realise that it is a genre that is tiresome and boring to watch? We weren’t the biggest fans of disposable flicks like The Ghosts Must Be Crazy (2011), Where Got Ghost? (2009) and Men in White (2007). That said, we are sure there is a market for movies like this (in the region, at least). It’s simple economics after all - supply comes only with demand, right?
Director Boris Boo helms this feature film about a man who gets his hand on a supernatural book one day, and as greed would have him, he spirals into a journey of no return. To beef up the story, he has two friends on this misadventure, and what the trio really wants you to know is: Greed isn’t a good thing.
But do we really need 92 minutes of tedious and wearisome filmmaking to get that point across? The jokes in this otherwise well shot and edited production are uninspired, and as each cringing minute passes by, you can’t help but keep glancing at your watch, wondering whether the end credits will show up soon. The blundering humour is at times crass, at times predictable, at times dull, and bland throughout.
Boo’s cast doesn’t help to make things easier. Taiwanese comedian Kang Kang takes on the role of the protagonist who picks up the supernatural scripture. While he talks about how viewers should pay attention to his non comedic performance in this movie, there is just nothing to commend about his forgettable acting. No thanks to the rather unlikable role, you won’t find yourself empathizing with the character. His co stars do not fare too well either. There are only so many times we can chuckle at local comedian Henry Thia trying to comb his hair into place. As for Malaysian actor Brendan Yuen, his overacting is mildly entertaining, if not irritating most of the time. Local TV star Jesseca Liu has it the worst for strutting around trying her best to look petrified and lost. The only source of amusement comes from the cameos by Taiwanese celebrity Nono and local artistes Irene Ang and Chua En Lai.
Producer Mark Lee misfires in his latest project with the tried and tested formula which doesn’t offer anything except cheap laughs, unremarkable performances and predicable plot development. What also fails is Lee’s “portrayal” as a spirit haunting the three protagonists. Neither scary nor funny, the booming voice which use of local language and slang does not do anything except to induce plenty cringe worthy moments.
Despite all the unkind criticisms, we have a gut feeling (which is most unfortunate) there will be a continual demand for movies like this, which will lead to filmmakers churning out such works to satisfy the market. Granted that there is a noble message to be relayed in collaborative productions like this (what better way to milk the market than to release the movie in both Singaporeand Malaysia?), we are sure there is a more artistically engaging method to make such movies. In the meantime, we are guessing we’d just have to grin and bear it.
(Uninspired and unfunny, this bland production which will leave you unimpressed)
Review by John Li