Another day, and another movie for you, dear readers. Today we take a look at the Malay/ HK co-production “Possessed”, the second film by Malay director Bjarne Wong. By most accounts, Bjarne Wong is not a terribly skilled director, and what I read of this didn’t make it sound that good, but….. the most unusual element of it was the staring roll by Korean transsexual pop star and model Harisu. I must confess that it was more a curiosity about Harisu whom I had heard of but never seen that got me interested in seeing this than anything else I had read. When the Singapore disc popped up, I just had to give it a try.
The synopsis for it reads: “China-born sisters Amber (Chia) and Lisu (Harisu) come to Malaysia seeking greater opportunities in their modeling and singing careers, respectively. But things go wrong when Amber falls into a coma and Lisu goes missing.
Amber is sent back to China for treatment. When she wakes up five months later, she has no recollection of her past, not even boyfriend Dino (Alan Yun). Dino decides to bring Amber back to Malaysia, hoping it will help jog her memory.
Back in Malaysia, Amber starts having nightmares. When she stumbles upon a photograph and video of Lisu and her, she decides to search for her missing sister. During her search, she meets William (Steve Yap), who claims to be Lisu’s ex-flame. Soon strange things begin to happen. Amber begins having visions of Lisu’s spirit and her nightmares become more frequent and violent.”
So….. is it a good lil’ long haired ghost movie? Or did it really need the notoriety of Harisu to sell it? Let’s find out, shall we……
This one is pretty much your standard asian “Long Haired Ghost” story. Luckily, this lil’ girl LIKES such stories…. so I wasn’t too worried about the terrible reviews I’d read prior to hunting down a copy. I almost picked up the Region 4 Australian version, but then, as luck would have it, I found it at my Singapore DVD source where I had previously mistaken it for the remake of “Possessed”, a HK movie from the late 90’s.
The price was much nicer and in US dollars, I already had ordered from them before and knew their service was top notch, so I grabbed it from them.
So having watched it, I can see why it was so terribly regarded back home. Bjarne Wong, the director, is new at this, “Possessed” being only his second film, and it shows. Much of the film is clumsy and in Neko’s opinion, badly edited, creating a feeling of awkward continuity. Sometimes this is the result of an overzealous censorship board, but that doesn’t feel like the case here. I’m aware of the Malay film codes, and perhaps some cuts were made due to implied sexual elements, but if there were, they were probably minor. One truly odd thing is the dubbing, which was in Cantonese, making me wonder what language the film was originally filmed in. Some characters obviously struggle with dialog and it shows.
For a limited budget, the effects and makeup are nicely done. The set design works on the whole, although, for me, it was hard to say if this was filmed in Malaysia, Singapore, OR China… it just didn’t have a feel that made the locale come alive for me….
The acting was adequate, if not inspired. The real surprise for me was Harisu, who despite not having much screen time outside of playing at ghostly tormentor, was very good. I had thought she might just have been a marketing gimmick added to the cast merely to drum up some buzz for an otherwise unremarkable effort. If she keeps at it, she might just make an interesting career out of acting.
In conclusion, “Possessed” ends up being another of those, not terrible, but not really good entries to the ghost/ horror genre. Neko gives it the middle of the road 3 “Meows” out of 5 for at least not feeling like a complete waste of my time. Bjarne Wong isn’t the Uwe Boll of Malaysia, despite some reviewers claims, he’s just learning his craft, and perhaps with his next film he’ll hit his stride and surprise us all.
There’s a Trailer available, and naturally I end with it just for you!!