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The Returning
Year: 1994
Tony Leung Chiu-Wai and Wu Chien-Lien
Director: Jacob Cheung Chi-Leung
Writer: Lee Chi-Ngai, Jacob Cheung Chi-Leung, Raymond To Kwok-Wai, Peter Chan Ho-Sun
Cast: Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Wu Chien-Lien (Ng Sin-Lin), Sandra Ng Kwun-Yu, Mo Chun-Fai, Joe Cheung Tung-Cho, Yip Kwong-Kim, Chan Mong-Wah, Tang Cheung
The Skinny: Interesting and different horror film that doesn't entirely pay off, though the slow, atmospheric ride may be worthwhile to some.
by Kozo:
     Arty horror movie about a reporter (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai) who’s so obsessed with deceased artist Siu Lau that he moves into her home to better understand her mysterious death. However, the house is haunted. Siu Lau’s spirit returns to torture Leung’s girlfriend (Wu Chien-Lien) by possessing her and slowly trying to steal Leung. More disturbingly, Siu Lau may even have a score to settle.
     UFO set their sights high with this remarkably straight horror film, which is so deliberate in its pacing and direction that it borders on maddening. While some might find the film boring, the even tone and disturbing calm help create a definitely interesting, even creepy mood. Helping matters is the divine Wu Chien-Lien, whose subtle ability to switch from one personality to another through minute facial expressions reveals more than hammy acting ever could. Sandra Ng is also great in a surprising dramatic role, and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai has seemingly cornered the market on effective low-key acting.
     Unfortunately, that really isn't enough to save The Returning from being anything more than an interesting Hong Kong Cinema departure. The film retains its placid tone up until the ending, which isn't sufficiently creepy or absorbing to make the film a total success. The final ambiguity seems fitting, but it extends more mystery to a film that needed a little more explaining. (Kozo 1995/1997)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Mei Ah Laser
Pan and Scan
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
English And Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of Mei Ah Laser Disc Co., Ltd.

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