THE CHOSEN ONE (流�驱魔师) (2024)

Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Director: Lim Suat Yen
Cast: Zong Zijie, Yao Kuo, Angel Lim, Gurmit Singh, Eric Lim, Gadrick Chin, Grace Teo, Alfred Ong
Runtime: 1 hr 45 mins
Rating: NC16 (Violence and Sexual References)
Released By: Shaw Organisation
Official Website: 

Opening Day: 30 May 2024

Synopsis: Ah Jie (Zong Zijie) has a special power – he can see ghosts and exorcise them. But unlike most superheroes, Ah Jie has tried all ways and means to avoid using his superpowers to help those in need. He cheats, cons, and fights – nothing about Ah Jie spells “Master”. Famous paranormal vlogger, Sora Ma (Angel Lim), stirs a storm when she begins recording a series of strange events in the neighbourhood… and it seems there’s no one better than Ah Jie to resolve these issues. What will Ah Jie do when a curious history from decades ago forces him to choose between accepting his fate as a Ghost Master who can save lives, versus a carefree life of hanging out as a gangster to protect his love?

Movie Review:

The Chosen One is the second big screen production from Dasmond Koh’s Noontalk Media after Thai-horror, The Antique Shop which featured the late Aloysius Pang. And this time, it’s yet again another horror feature except it’s a Singapore and Malaysia collaboration and stars one of Noontalk artists and sometimes television actor, Zong Zijie in the leading role.

Zong plays Ah Jie, an ex-exorcist who gave up his destiny and powers to help others and instead relied on scams, fights and fake viagra to make a living on the streets. His “best friend” happens to be a hooker, Ah Jiao (Taiwanese starlet Yao Kuo) who unsuccessfully prowled the dark alleys every night for customers.

At the recommendation of Jie’s master, Bai Yun (Gurmit Singh), a famous paranormal vlogger, Sora Ma (Angel Lim) starts to pester Jie for his life story and why he has given up on his exorcism powers. Meanwhile, a demonic power is rising and it is slowly consuming the energies of a ten year old boy and a young man respectively.

Firstly, the marketing materials tried its very best to sell it as an exciting ghostly thriller comedy that probably combines elements from the classic Mr Vampire series, perhaps 2002, a supernatural actioner that stars Nicholas Tse and Stephen Fung or Nick Cheung’s Keeper of Darkness. Then again, when you hire a recognisable, famous face from overseas, you can’t possibly relegate the actress to a minor role right?

And this is precisely why The Chosen One got things all wrong. It’s entirely forgivable if the horror comedy never breaks any new ground. However, if the movie spends more than eighty percent of the running time on the tragic romance and backstory of Jie and Jiao, it defeats the purpose of having a “ghost master” or “exorcism” theme as the selling point. We get it if the movie attempts to sell it as a typical Taiwanese weepie romance but the narrative is too generic to pass off as one.

Kai Ko’s Till We Meet Again is one great example of how to combine romance and the supernatural into one fantastic outing, unfortunately this is not the case here since the story and setup is too weak and straightforward to justify a prolonged romance segment. We are not going to disclose what actually transpired between Jie and Jiao so you have to find out yourself.

To get back to the supernatural theme, the prologue actually promises a devilish demonic power lurking in an abandoned underground World War II bunker while some evil Japanese ghosts are seen later on. I mean what else is more demonic than some old undead Japanese soldiers. But instead of some genuine creepy suspense or exhilarating action pieces, the true horror comes in the form of dated, unconvincing CGI and unintentional laughs.

The pairing of Zong Zijie and Yao Kuo is nonetheless easy on the eyes with Zijie flexing his moves and CGI talismans when the occasion arises since there are no physical gadgets to speak of. As for the leading lady, her role as Jiao doesn’t require much effort from veteran Yao Kuo to be honest. Noontalk artists Xu Bin and Kimberly Chia also make special appearances with the latter somewhat being a Halloween night reject. We can’t decide if Gurmit Singh is miscast in the role of Master Bai Yun. At least, he is the most entertaining aspect of the movie given his occasional comedic smattering of English, Singlish and Mandarin. It’s a pity influencer Eric Lim fails to bring his wacky online persona here as he plays a pretty serious temple attendant if not he will be a hoot alongside Singh. And Gadrick Chin from Ah Boys to Men appears in an irritating disposable gangster role, Brother Leopard.

Without any memorable slapstick humour, action and horror sequences, The Chosen One is also greatly hindered by a romance subplot that seem to go on forever. Thus, the whole idea of a young kung-fu fighting exorcist as promised in the promotional materials is more of an afterthought.

Movie Rating:




(A thoroughly wasted opportunity to showcase some hor-medy and Song Zijie’s big screen debut)

Review by Linus Tee


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