In Mandarin with English & Chinese Subtitles
Director: Leste Chen
Starring: Terri Kwan, Jason Chang, Chang Yu
Cheng, Tender Huang
RunTime: 1 hr 37 mins
Released By: Shaw & Festive Films
Rating: PG (Some disturbing scenes)
Official Website: http://www.heirloom-movie.com
Opening Day: 12 January 2006
years ago, an inexplicable mass suicide occurred in the millionaire
Yang household, where the entire clan hanged to their deaths
at the exact same hour, place, and height. Only one member
survived. To this day, the case remains unsolved.
years later, distant relative James inherits the Yang MANSION,
moving in with his girlfriend Yo, a dancer who aspires to
study in the U.S. To celebrate the engagement, they invite
their friends –Yi-Chen and Ah-Tseng – to their
new home and stay the night.
supernatural events begin to take place, James and Yo discover
the eccentricities of the house including a mysterious fourth
floor. Delving deep into the Yang family history, James and
Yo find out that the Yang fortune was built with the aid of
“child ghosts”, dead babies fed on blood and refused
the opportunity to reincarnate. Raising child ghosts may bring
great fortune, but at the same time great doom.
here on, James and Yo will unearth more secrets about the
Yang family - and even about James himself - while they must
confront the evil dwelling on the fourth floor.
“The Heirloom ” started off with a short explanation
of the well-known supernatural tradition of keeping a child
ghost which has been rumored that that some Asians practice.
Then it veered off into the formulaic Hollywood Horror setting
where the lead character, James, (Jason Chang) inherits a
spooky house and the eerie happenings start to occur around
him, his girlfriend, Yo (Terri Kwan), friends and people who
comes in contact with the spooky house.
The way this movie is advertised and how the movie started
with the explanation of ghost child would inevitable raise
the expectations of child ghosts haunting in this movie. But
if you do go in with such expectations, it is likely that
you will be disappointed as there isn’t many apparitions
or any interesting explanations that goes into depth about
the child ghost. Instead this movie is laced with the tragedy
of traditional family practices and the elements of child
ghosts are pretty much the secondary devices to keep the movie
“The Heirloom” should take a clue from Kevin Tong’s
“The Maid” since it is touted as a horror movie.
Given that “The Maid” is not the best representative
of the horror genre but it is able, at least, to conjure the
atmospheric feel of horror and contains effective scares –a-minute
tactic that makes you dread that but you have to stay on to
watch the movie, which are all seriously lacking in “The
Heirloom” If only the Heirloom had lingered a bit longer
in certain scenes to raise the suspense or used effective
soundtracks to build up the climatic scares, then it would
at least pass my minimal scare factors for a horror movie.
The structure of the movie and the editing also makes it harder
to sympathize with the victims in this movie. There is very
little characterization of those victims and it made their
deaths almost meaningless and impactless. Most of the strange
occurrences and deaths happen in an illogical manner, even
for a horror movie. The impact of the scariness was even reduced
by the lack of gore or gruesome scenes.
Between the two leads, Terri Kwan, who was nominated for Golden
Horse Best Supporting Actress Award for her performance in
“Turn Left Turn Right” definitely had the more
engaging performance over her co-star. A good choice that
Terri Kwan carried the bulk of the movie as James Chang’s
performance came across rather unnatural and forced, specially
in his delivery of dialogue which sounded like Mandarin with
Cantonese accent instead of the American accent since his
character was supposed to have been abroad for almost twenty
This is the first time for young director Leste Chen in directing
a full-length motion picture and a brave effort for him to
try on horror films when Taiwan is country that has very few
horror movies to call its own. His intentions to merge his
experience with traditional families with ghosts have it’s
potential but the misadventure ended up quite misdirected.
For a country that has very few in their domestic commercial
film exports, it is good news that it seems that the Taiwan
movie industry might be seeing some form of revival. This
movie also opens second in Taiwan Box Office and it’s
interesting to see how it will fare in our local market.
Heirloom lacks of any intense scare factors found in most
by Richard Lim Jr