Director: Chen Ding An
Cast: Dennis Zhou Chongqing, Gan Mei Yan, Eunice Olsen, Samuel Chong, Choo Xiu Feng
Runtime: 1 hr 17 mins
Released By: Shaw Organisation
Official Website: http://www.ghostonair.com/
Opening Day: 17 May 2012
Synopsis: Ping Xiao, a two time “Most Popular DJ” award winner, is suddenly robbed of his successful morning show slot. Jealous at seeing a younger DJ taking his place, he forces himself to conquer painful recurring memories of his deceased girlfriend and tells the ghost stories that was written by her on air. With each painful memory he endures, he regains a small step to his superstardom. However, as he is about to claim his reward, he begins to realize that the stories were not works of fiction, and maybe it wasn’t him telling the stories all along…
Ghost On Air tells the story of Ping Xiao (Dennis Chew), a two-time “Most Popular DJ” award winner, who was suddenly removed from his primetime show in the morning after a scandal. Threatened by a young uprising starlet DJ Pauline (Eunice Olsen) usurping his position as the top DJ in the radio station. Ping Xiao forced himself to conquer his fear and painful memories of his recently deceased girlfriend, Jia Yi (Gan Mei Yan) by telling ghost stories written by her on air during the graveyard time slots. As he slowly regains his popularity, he begins to realize that not all the stories are works of fiction and decides to investigate by tracing back the path taken by his girlfriend. As he gets closer to the truth, something else also gets closer to him.
Ghost On Air is a pinnacle of what a horror movie should not be. It is filled with cliché and incongruence plot that does nothing in engaging the audience. Old creepy lady. Checked. Old and dusty room. Checked. Abundance of eerie music. Checked. Woman victims dripping with blood. Checked. Protagonist with repeated nightmares. Checked, checked, checked. In fact, most of the chill factors of this movie, limited as they are, come in the form of nightmares or vivid imagination of the lead character. These, sadly, get too frequent and repetitive that they become normal sequences that are pointless and no longer frightful.
Director Cheng Ding An, who is also the scriptwriter and producer of the film, lacks the flair of Pang Brothers (The Eye, 2002) in creating macabre atmosphere for the movie. Ghost On Air, being his second directorial effort and first foray into the horror genre, is dragged down by sudden change in scenes, uneven pacing and the overwhelming background music that gets louder as Ping Xiao approaches something expectedly unexpected. This background music, more often than not, backfires and ends up warning the audience to get prepared for a cheap scare tactic laden heavily throughout the film. Without the much needed element of surprise, this film is actually a snooze fest. Furthermore, the script shows no character development or enough backstory for the audience to care for or empathize with the characters, either alive or dead. Ghost On Air failed on so many levels that it amount to nothing more than three back-to-back episodes of Incredible Tales on Channel 5, and hardly come close to what the Best of Incredible Tales has to offer.
Dennis Chew as the male lead, Ping Xiao, lacks the screen gravitas and presence to carry the movie. His acting also left much to be desired. He, having limited acting experience outside of his more popular alter ego - Auntie Lucy, is effective enough in the radio studio since he is a real life DJ but this does not take much effort. Once his character is out of the studio, his amateurish acting becomes apparent and unbearable. Likewise, Eunice Olsen as the popular Mandarin speaking DJ is as convincing as the fact that ghosts walk among us since she cannot even articulate her lines clearly and well enough. Gan Mei Yan, another real life DJ, does not have the chance to convince the audience that she can be a bankable actress since her scenes are far and few. She also has zero chemistry with her reel life partner, making the core motivation for Ping Xiao to move to the dubious and haunted shop house abruptly laughable and questionable.
In all, Ghost On Air, due to its inexperienced cast and crew, is certainly not on par with the standard of a locally produced movie.
(Perhaps Auntie Lucy would have been more entertaining, or at the very least, garnered some attention and laughter, starring in this movie as a damsel haunted by ghosts from her lover’s past)
Review by Sing Swee Leong