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Haunted Office

"Please don't hit me! I won't work with Ekin anymore, okay?"      "You big baby."

(left) Jordan Chan gets frightened, and (right) Shu Qi embraces Stephen Fung in Haunted Office.

Year: 2002
Director: Marco Mak Chi-Sin, Bowie Lau Bo-Yin, Not a Woman (But Hai Lui Yan)
Cast: Jordan Chan Siu-Chun, Karen Mok Man-Wai, Shu Qi, Stephen Fung Tak-Lun, Law Lan, Yuen King-Tan, David Lee Wai-Seung, Eva Wong Sum-Yu, Elena Kong Mei-Yi
The Skinny: All-star horror flick which is uneven but occasionally diverting. The twists are predictable and the plot logic-free, and the bigger-than-usual names don't really bring that much to the proceedings. This isn't a terrible film, but it isn't as good as Hong Kong's recent horror efforts, i.e. The Eye, Visible Secret 2 or even Sleeping with the Dead. It might compare favorably to The Troublesome Night series, though.
by Kozo:

     Hong Kong horror: it's cheap, easy to produce and generally guarantees a quick - if not substantial - return. The recent effort Haunted Office arrives with some veterans of the genre (Jordan Chan, Law Lan and director/editor Marco Mak), but it also corrals Karen Mok, Shu Qi and Stephen Fung into appearing, too. This could indicate that this film is a step up from such quickie exercises as the Troublesome Night series. Or, it could simply mean that the stars need the money.
     The Chinese title for this film literally translates as "Office has ghosts", which this office certainly does. Stephen Fung is Ken, a recent hire who becomes attracted to the lovely, but spiritually harried Shan (Shu Qi). She's shadowed by a mysterious white-haired woman who may or may not be dead. Meanwhile, worker Pat (Karen Mok) is apparently terrorized by the evil demon who resides in the last stall of the sixteenth floor woman's bathroom, yet still decides to work late hours with little or no support. And, evil bastard Richard (Jordan Chan) begins to suspect that his entire staff (including the grand dame of Hong Kong horror Law Lan) has become ghosts and is out for his dyed-blond head.
     Immediately, Haunted Office suffers from the usual horror plot devices, namely the fact that the characters are enormously stupid. Not only is the office famous for nine people dying every July, and not only do people actually begin to get offed, but our characters decide to stay nonetheless. And some, like Pat, even submit themselves to working late hours in near-perpetual darkness. And where the hell is the security? Do they work for a living? And how can a white-haired woman that everyone can see get free access to a highrise office building? And doesn't anyone realize that a person who always wears red is bad news? Yes, Haunted Office requires massive suspension of disbelief. It operates off of the same urban legend creepiness that most modern Asian horror does, but it isn't convincingly creepy. And, the film is resoundingly predictable.
     So, after all that, how can someone recommend Haunted Office? Well, the film does have decent stars who turn in better-than-average performances, and Karen Mok's segment (despite its ridiculousness) sets a suitably creepy tone for the film. Jordan Chan's storyline works despite Chan's overbearing performance, and the presence of Law Lan (who probably scares the crap out of her grandchildren) helps. And Shu Qi and Stephen Fung look good, though they don't have much more than glorified cameos.
      If expectations were higher, then perhaps Haunted Office would get a more pronounced thrashing. As it is, it succeeds at what it promises: mildly entertaining horror. Director Marco Mak isn't really a guarantee of success anyway, and it's worth being suspicious of any production with a crew member named Not a Woman. Not a Woman is really not a filmmaker either, but it's arguable that he tries to be. If you choose to have Haunted Office waste your time, you'll likely get what you ask for. (Kozo 2002)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
images courtesy of
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