4 January 2011 | mjneu59
a Taiwanese ghost story
Comparisons have been drawn between writer-director Fred Tan and Alfred Hitchcock, but the portentous spiritualism and telltale streak of supernatural horror in this modern ghost story is more reminiscent of the early films of Peter Weir (something of a Hitchcock plagiarist himself at the time). Tan's second feature follows an avant-garde dancer possessed by the unquiet, vengeful spirit of a young woman recently killed by her gigolo boyfriend; but the split referred to in the title is more between the lingering influence of ancient superstitions and the high-tech culture of late 20th century Asia. The film itself is likewise somewhat schizophrenic: a sleek and handsome production weighed down by a fatally simplistic script (at least in translation). The more exaggerated the story becomes, the easier it is to accept as tongue-in-cheek escapism, in particular during the climactic exorcism and journey beyond the grave.