Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
What's it about
A mass suicide took place in a home many moons ago. A new family moves into said home, and very strange stuff starts happening, an asian horror film ensues.
Is it good movie?
This movie was nuts. Asian horror always tries to push the boundaries of the bizarre and the insane, and this Tartan Asia Extreme release really does just that.
The movie's title and central plot device refers to the ancient dark art of Hsiao Guei, which, in other words, refers to raising the ghosts of dead children. How is this done? Well, i'd be a fool not to tell you. You simply find a dead fetus (mmm), put it inside an urn, and then start pouring the blood of your own family members inside, and just like that, you earn some favors from the risen evil offspring. Of course, this leads to a curse which you aren't going to be able to escape.
The premise of this movie is unsettling and creepy as hell, but unfortunately, it's premise is one of its only strong points. Don't get me wrong, The Heirloom is a great looking picture, the setting is awesome, and the acting is pretty good too (props to Jason Chang). Our characters are even pretty well fleshed out, something that is detrimental to getting 'into' a horror flick, in my mind. The problem is, when it comes down to it, is that the movie's pacing is sll--owww. It's deliberate and plodding at times, so much so that when we are treated to a 'boo' scare, it almost loses effectiveness because it isn't a proper payoff.
What makes this movie crawl is that for almost the entire time, our heroes are trying to unravel this mystery that we, the audience already know so much about, We know almost everything that the characters are trying to discover, so after awhile, it gets rather frustrating and dull.
The movie is well shot, has a neat concept and some good characters, it's just slow and a bit frustrating, which is really unfortunate.
Video / Audio
Our video is a widescreen shot, optimized for 16x9 tvs, and it's a very nice picture, clear and free of muck, looks pretty good for a very dark film.
Audio is a Dolby 5.1 track that will effectively convey the thrills and chills of the movie's soundtrack and a dialogue you probably don't understand.
Have you ever listened to a commentary track that's subtitled on the screen? If not, you should check this out, because there's one on this disc and it works. It features the director, screenwriter, and production crew and relays a lot of really neat information you will dig if you enjoyed the film.
We also get the Making of The Heirloom, a pretty decent EPK that is a little lost in translation, but definetely worth checking out.
We get a few deleted scenes which rightfully didn't belong in the film.
We also get a few Tartan Asia Extreme trailers!
The Heirloom is a creepy and unnecessarily methodically paced film that is packed with atmosphere and well acted. It simply suffered from too many pacing problems for me to really enjoy it, but I can't in good conscience say it's a bad film. If you're down with Asian horror, check this out, it's worth it.