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 Publicity Stills of "The Haunted School"
(Courtesy from Shaw)

Director: Chin Man Kei
Starring: Chui Tien You, Don Li, Steven Cheung (Boyz), Dennis Mak (Boyz), Theresa Fu, Toby Leung, Macy Chan, Kelly Fu
RunTime: 1 hr 30 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: PG

Opening Day: 15 March 2007


Since a fire broke out in Lap Lan Secondary School ten years ago. There is always a silhouette on the wall, coupled with eerie singing in the middle of the night, resulting in all kinds of scary and disturbing rumours being spread in the school.

Lap Lan Secondary School is a girl school. However, under the new education policy, Goh Keung, Charles, Ben and Dick are assigned to Lap Lan Secondary School to continue their education.

The four boys found excitement among the boring boarding girl school. As love and rebellion are the given right of the youngster - no matter how the Dean of the school has forbid the romantic relationships between the guys and gals.

After a secret party, love blossomed among the youngsters. Unknowingly, the relationships had revived a hidden curse which haunted the school ten years ago…

Very soon, Dick, Ah Sze and Cat went missing and found dead bizarrely. The death of their schoolmates caused Goh Keung and Yat Man great distress, and the two were on the verge of breaking down. After much consideration, the two decided to challenge the rule of “Students are forbid to fall in love”, which they found totally unreasonable, hoping that this will lead them to the cause of their classmates’ death.

In the meantime, the old school office which is destroyed by the blaze ten years ago, appear again with the ghost of the Dean… Step by step, the cursed spirit of the Dean traced the lovebirds, confronting their mutiny against the school rule…

Movie Review:

The Haunted School is a movie in the classic popcorn horror flick mould. You get lots of pretty faces looking fearful and lost, an evil, long-haired female ghost and plenty if in your face audio-visual scare effects. When watched with little expectations, The Haunted School is a fun, if at times abysmally hilarious, ride for anyone looking for a scare.

Produced by veteran Andrew Lau, the Haunted School reaches a level of production value that is considerably high for a horror production. The special and visual effects are more than believable and visually eye-catching although the film was let down by the horrible rendering of the female headmistress ghost near the end. Doors materialize amidst flaming effects on walls; spirits and ghosts appear without you knowing long before and nothing appeared like cheesy amusement park horror mansion props.

Don’t expect much from this movie, story-wise, however. The movie tells of a haunted school, troubled by the lingering-spirit of an ex-headmistress. She had been murdered by the wife of the school principal upon the discovery of their affair. As a result, she kills all students who break the school’s rules. The rules include no gambling, no smoking, no untidy uniform and, the craziest of all, rule number one: no falling in love. Yes, students get killed for falling in love, a simply substandard offering by scriptwriter Lui Koon Nam.

The rather far-flung and tenuous plot line fuels the entire movie, as a group of students try their best to solve the mystery and exorcise the headmistress ghost. The acting is nothing more than mediocre, especially given the uninspiring screenplay. The two main characters, a student couple, ultimately use their love for each other and the help of their form teacher (whose mother was the wife of the principal) to exorcise the spirit.

The Haunted School plays like a horror film aimed at the younger generation; with a eye-candy cast and fast-paced plot movement and dramatic scenes. Starring the members of boyband group Boyz, the likes of Steven Cheung and Dennis Mak clearly up the eye candy factor by playing the role of boys who are fresh intakes in an all-girls school that goes ga-ga over them.

Horror movie addicts will find familiar territory in this one, though it might not be sufficient to satisfy them all. One finds the usual emaciated limbs crawling awkwardly up walls towards the victims, loud shrieking, screams as well as laughter throughout the film. Doors slam repeatedly and creak like thousand-year old rocking chairs when pried open, while an old lady in a trance-like state add to the spook factor with her constant mumbling and cleaning mysterious shadows on school walls. Be warned though, at the beginning, the shrieking voice effects were unglamourously overdone, often times hurting my ears quite a bit.

The film, despite its teen romance potential and the potential pitfalls of gore and bloodshed in a commercial horror thriller, refrains from any sexual, even sensual scenes. Victims are also “disposed of” with little unnecessary gore, with the most extreme probably being a suicide death by one of the schoolgirls from the top of the school building. Parents with young children, however, should still exercise caution. In any case, the plotline and thematic nature of the film gives little attraction for anyone not in their teens yet. A very passable film which, however, gets sorely let down by a totally uncalled-for and abysmal twist in a torridly cookie-cutter ending.

Movie Rating:

(A generic popcorn horror flick with enough scares but a paper-thin plot)

Review by Daniel Lim



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