Director – Danny Pang, Oxide Pang
Cast – Angelica Lee, Pou-Soi Cheang, Ekin Cheng, Lawrence Chou, Viraiwon Jauwseng, Siu-Ming Lau
Release Year – 2006
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I have remained a fan of the The Pang Brothers ever since their 2002 masterpiece, the original version of The Eye. While I have not followed them much since 2002, I respect their directing and writing talent. In 2006, they gave us one of the cooler horror films I have seen in quite some time, titled Re-Cycle. What makes this flick so cool? There are a number of elements that make this flick a cool watch, and the most fascinating element is the fantasy thrown in. Yes, a Hong Kong horror/fantasy. Read on.
This flick stars the ever-beautiful Angelica Lee(who also starred in The Eye) as Tsui Ting-Yin, a novelist who has put forth three best-selling works based on a love story she personally experienced. Now that the love story is over, she decides to explore a different path in her next work, the path…of the supernatural. Little does Tsui know, any literary work on a supernatural level comes with great responsibility as it is believed whatever is written will happen in real life. Tsui begins her novel, and learns this lesson first hand. Tsui is thrown into a supernatural realm adjacent to our dimension, a dimension for the lost souls and broken promises written by writers of the supernatural realm. As Tsui searches this barren world she comes into contact with a young girl who offers to help her leave the dimension, but harbors a deep secret that will rock Tsui’s world.
The Pang Brothers do a fantastic job setting up this film’s amazing atmosphere right from the get-go. An awesome intro is further awesomed by the sweet grainy and gloomy cinematography that allows this film to move so well and engage the viewer. The sets were also very well done, and Tsui’s high-rise condo proves to be a very creepy atmosphere when the scares begin. From then on out this flick heads into the fantasy realm which is beautifully executed and very dark in nature.
I was really surprised when this film went into its fantasy element. Why? Well because this flick starts off much like every other supernatural Asian horror flick, so I expected it to continue as such. Boy was I wrong. What is even cooler is this film stays in the fantasy element for the vast bulk of the film and gives us many interesting scenes and elements during this use of fantasy. For one, we get very creepy zombie-esque creatures which leave me thinking “why the HELL haven’t these guys done an outright zombie flick yet?”. The cinematography and scenery during this long fantasy sequence is fantastic, but the best is what I have to say next. I am not joking with what I am about to say…there is a sequence in which Tsui is thrown into a “hell” for…aborted fetuses! Don’t get me wrong A-horror enthusiasts, this is not the typical use of abortion we get in Asian horror flicks, but a dark and quite scary touch to this someone cliché element that was excellently executed.
The rest of the story may come off as slightly confusing if you drift your attention, so pay attention and you should not find this a confusing watch at all. I did not come across any needless scenes nor characters, and this is a testament to great writing by The Pang Brothers as well as two other writers, Cub Chin and Sam Lung. This awesome storyline comes with an awesome awe-inducing climax that finishes with a bang. Honestly, my expression at this film’s final second of runtime was “WOW”, as this film surprised me with how well done it is.
Overall, this is a great watch by two of A-horror’s maestros who really know how to put together a great horror film. We get many elements not normally used in the horror scene, and they make this a memorable and highly enjoyable watch.