Director: Koh Chong Wu
Cast: Jayley Woo, Andie Chen, Lina Ng, Yap Hui Xin, Tasha Low, Rachel Wong, Constance Lau, Estovan Reizo Cheah, Henry Thia
Runtime: 1 hr 20 mins
Rating: NC16 (Some Violence and Horror)
Released By: Clover Films and mm2 Entertainment
Official Website: https://www.facebook.com/latenightridemovie
Opening Day: 28 October 2021
Synopsis: LATE NIGHT RIDE follows the separate stories of three individuals who encounter sinister happenings. They eventually cross paths and the plotlines converge. A group of social media influencers, led by Nat (Jayley Woo), decides to explore a haunted road and nearby cycling park, in an attempt to gain more viewers for their channel. Nat purposely breaks some taboo in the hopes of capturing paranormal activities and ends up being haunted. What will happen to her? Jie (Andie Chen) lost his wife in a car accident and his son, Josh, has not spoken since. The father and son end up on a late-night bus ride where all dark secrets will be unveiled. Min (Lina Ng) is a private hire driver who works day and night to earn money for her father's medical bills. Sinister happenings started to occur when she is on the roads and she needs to figure out why before the situation gets out of control.
There is this group of cinema goers who like to scare themselves silly. These are the people who would buy tickets to horror movies, venture into the dark cinema theatres, then squirm in their seats (or in some instances, gasp and/or scream) when something frightening takes place on the big screen. There are foreign horror movies, then there are Singaporean ones which have an edge because they deal with matters we are familiar with.
The latest horror flick to hit our screens is this slightly overdue film helmed by Koh Chong Wu. Production began in the third quarter of 2019 and the plan was to release it in the second quarter of 2020. Well, we know what happened and like countless other movies, this one is postponed to coincide with this year’s Halloween.
The concept is interesting as we see three protagonists involved in recognisable local modes of transport – the bicycle, the ride share car and the bus, as they experience different kinds of haunting. A group of social media influencers decide to document their rides on a supposedly haunted bicycle trail. When one of them (Jayley Woo) decides to wander off on her own to get more exciting footage, things end on a terrifying note. Then there is a private hire driver (Lina Ng) who is overworking herself to make ends meet. During her journeys, she encounters sinister happenings and she may or may not be the reason why there are such strange occurrences. In the third story, a man (Andie Chen) loses his wife in a car accident and the tragedy hits their son so badly that he has not said a word every since. As they take late night bus rides, we find out what really happened on that fateful night when the accident happened.
As the 80 minute movie progresses, the seasoned horror movie fan can predict how the three stories are connected, and even see the supposed story twists coming. The story development may not be the most original you may have seen (granted there are much drearier ones than this out there), but the movie does a decent job at keeping your attention for the entire duration.
Woo is aptly cast as the eager social media influencer who would do anything to get more views on her channel. With her pretty face and the hunger in her eyes to do the unthinkable, it was a nice shock to see her in grotesque makeup in one of the sequences. Ng’s character portrayal is spot on as she dons an oversized shirt while she goes about taking on more jobs. The fatigue in her is brought out by makeup and Ng’s weary eyes. Chen may be a heartthrob with many female fans, but his character in this movie is an unlikeable one. The actor shows how unpleasant he can be, and kudos to his co star Constance Lau for delivering a heartfelt performance as his grieving wife. Other supporting characters are played by household names like Cai Ping Kai and Henry Thia.
As a serviceable local horror movie, this film does its job with jump scares, relatable themes, and most importantly, featuring sights and sounds that Singaporeans are familiar with.
(A local horror movie that features familiair sights and sounds to remind you that humans can be scarier than supernatural beings)
Review by John Li