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Ghost Office
Chinese: 每天嚇你八小時
Mango Wong and Lam Suet
Year: 2003
Director: Andy Ng, Kuk Kok-Leung, Law Wing-Cheong
Producer: Matthew Chow Hoi-Kwong
Cast: Lam Suet, Crystal Tin Yui-Lei, Stephanie Lam Mei-Jing, Jojo Shum Bo-Yi, Chan Chin-Pang, Lin Chi-Hao, Mango Wong Sau-Lam, Samantha Teoh, Lee Lou, Matthew Chow Hoi-Kwong, Four Tse, Khan Ishtiaq, Candy Hau Woon-Ling
The Skinny: Moderately amusing horror-comedy is more comedy than horror, and more "don't bother" than "must see." Without a doubt, the first six Troublesome Night movies are more essential viewing than Ghost Office.
 
Review
by Kozo:

A familiar genre gets another incarnation with Ghost Office, a trio of moderately amusing, not-so-scary ghost stories from three separate directors. Producer/writer Matthew Chow oversees the whole shebang, and this typical concoction does hit the occasional funny bone. Still, this is not really a step up from the numerous Troublesome Night films. It may, in fact, be a step down.

Story one stars Chan Chin-Pang (of the not-classic 1998 film Rape Trap) as a mousy ad exec who gets sexually approached by his dragon-lady boss Stephanie Lam. Meanwhile, his co-worker and high school buddy Lin Chi-Hao starts to think his old buddy is a freak. The atmosphere in this short isn't bad (the flourescent lights flicker annoyingly, and the boss' office walls are painted an ominous ghost red), but the hows and whys aren't really surprising or compelling. Director Andy Ng loads on the style, which actually makes his portion of the film competently watchable. Still, nothing that exciting truly happens here.

Story two features Milky Way regular Lam Suet as the lecherous proprietor of a small porno production house who needs to come up a ton of money before the loan sharks shut him down. His salvation lies in the dubbing of a soundless porno film, but unfortunately he gets killed while reaching for toilet paper in the bathroom. Undaunted, his ghost haunts his nearly all-female staff (Jojo Hui, Mango Wong and Samantha Teoh) by sexually harrassing them in ghost form, just like he did while alive. Lam Suet is amusing and the girls are gratingly cute, but the overall story is just a half-hour of mindless fluff. The payoff here is your standard "unfinished business" joke, and should come as no surprise to anyone who's seen other Hong Kong horror comedies. Plus, the girls go from gratingly cute to just plain annoying.

Story three features Crystal Tin Yiu-Lei (Sandra Ng's best pal in Golden Chicken) as an office lady who's famous for her mouthy office antics. She lusts after the office player (Khan Ishtiaq), openly curses her co-workers, and generally plays the annoying mother hen to a chicken coop full of other mouthy office ladies. However, her smack talk leads to a spiraling rash of unfortunate incidents, which encompass such deadly topics as getting fired, faking your bust size, having flatuence during sexual activity, and eventually dooming your entire office to a sordid, undesirable fate. Crystal Tin is convincingly unpitiable, and director Law Wing-Cheong gets his comic rhythms down pretty well. At the very least, this tale features some intriguing plotting which helps sustain interest. Unfortunately, that interest is never delivered upon, and things eventually collapse beneath annoying acting and a storyline that screams, "So?" The most exciting thing about this short is that it was shot in the exact same office as Needing You. Woohoo!

The big problem with Ghost Office: it's simply unnecessary. The three stories featured here are all slight, moderately interesting, but totally inconsequential pieces of fluff. If you're going to spend time watching a movie, why would you choose something so unfulfilling? One might ask the same question of the very similar Troublesome Night films, but if one were to really pick apart those flicks (well, the first six, anyway), they'd find some decent storytelling, good character development, and even some subtle emotions. Ghost Office provides none of those, and is just a cheap distraction for people who really have nothing better to do. Maybe the most entertainment-starved Hong Kong Cinema addict might find some diversion here, but that's probably about it. (Kozo 2004)

 
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Mei Ah Laser
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 2.0
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of Mei Ah Entertainment

   
 
 
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