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SILK
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Reviewed by: JimmyO

Directed by: Chao-Pin Su

Starring:
Yosuke Eguchi
Chen Chang
Karena Lam

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
A group of scientist, lead by a Hashimoto, are researching anti-gravity and are able to trap the ghost of a 13-year old boy. When a jaded detective is brought on board to shed some light on the identity of the boy, people soon begin to die at the hands of one pissed off ghost. Well, I'd be pissed off if someone trapped me and put me in a damn "Meager Sponge".
Is it good movie?
When a scientist named Hashimoto (Yosuke Eguchi() discovers the ghost of a 13-year old boy, he also discovers a way to trap the spirit in an old abandoned building. He enlists the aid of a research team to help his anti-gravity research. But nobody knows anything about the boy. He sits alone in the room they’ve set up for him and trapped him with the aid of a “Meager Sponge”, a material which collects energy and helps keep the boy in place, whether he wants to be there or not. In an attempt to find out more about the boy, Hashimoto brings in a Detective named Tung (Chen Chang) who reluctantly joins him, only in hopes to find out more about what he should do with his dying mother. There is much going on here and it is beautifully displayed with thoughts of reincarnation, and would death be the answer to all Hashimoto’s pain. And when the boy begins to kill, all of the research is thrown into jeopardy. Those funding the experiments begin to lose faith as the boy seems to be exacting his own revenge. And it all lies in a simple strand of silk.

There is a connection between the dead and the living. A strand of silk that flows from a ghostly apparition in full human form, and this single strand of silk follows the unknowing until they face their doom. A very interesting idea which is why it is frustrating that Silk wasn’t a brilliant film. I have very rarely seen such a strong idea, that includes the addition of a believable scientific element to a ghost story with well drawn out characters that pull you in. It’s just too bad the special effects are so lousy. Aside from the make-up (which works), the CG is ridiculously bad and at times laughable. In one instance, the boy is shrunk with the Meager Sponge and he suddenly begins to grow while climbing out of someone’s coat pocket. It was dreadfully bad.

I still recommend this movie because the acting is fantastic and much of the direction is quite strong, aside from the silly CSI moments to explain the technical aspects. Come on, this is a lame trick and it is getting old. But I did feel that the character driven script works, aside from a few odd occurrences that don’t seem to add up. This includes some very bizarre choices made by the characters and the fact that the lead detective completely forgets about his sick mother, which is one of the strongest elements in the film. The originality and the well rounded characters make for a surprisingly original take on death and what connects us to those we’ve lost. And the idea of trapping the young boy and watching his emotionless face while his body language was so sad and destroyed. I would have rather taken out the horror elements and used this as a study in death what happens when you try and force yourself into it. This is a very alluring premise that suffers from a forced horror angle with awful special effects.
Video / Audio
Video: A very clear Anamorphic Widescreen transfer. Basically, what you would normally expect from Tartan Asia Extreme.

Audio: The DTS Surround Sound 5.1 is also terrific. Crystal clear and the terrific score (by Peter Kam) is well on display here. Although the music sometimes felt a bit over the top.
The Extras
Tartan Asia Extreme put together some worthwhile special features here but it seems it could have been better. The first and most interesting is the Making of Silk (32:39). It is your typical behind the scenes but it seems to go into more detail with it’s half hour length. It is interesting look at what they filmmakers don’t consider a “ghost movie”.

The next feature is a dark but probably unintentionally funny Alternate Ending (2:51). Again, I liked the idea, but it just seemed silly and added more questions then answers. It was wise to change it.

We have a few Deleted Scenes (11:03) which I think I would have rather seen than the more “horrific” elements. I liked the human drama here but I guess they wanted to draw in that horror crowd.

Next up, we have a few very unfunny Outtakes (3:18). Not a necessary watch considering I was slightly bored after 3 minutes.

Of course we need the Original Theatrical Trailer (2:14). Wait a minute, why is the guy that should have done Hot Dog: The Movie doing the voiceover for a serious minded horror film?

Looking for more Tartan Asia Extreme New Releases? Well, there are trailers for “Dorm”, “The Ghost”, “Shutter”, “The Maid”, “Heirloom” and “Natural City”. A few good ones here, but the trailer for The Maid doesn’t do it justice.
Last Call
It’s refreshing to see an original and provocative horror/thriller about a ghost and the connection he has with the living around him. I’ve rarely seen a film like this and would have easily given it a higher rating if the lousy special effects didn’t knock it down a notch. The actors are all very good and I loved the character driven, slow-burn of the picture. It would have been a much stronger film had they gone with the psychological horror as opposed to the silly effects and the lame CSI explanation of the events occurring. It is still a film worth recommending and it has some very creepy and somber moments. The less horrific elements and more character driven storyline keep this ghost in sight.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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