Movie Details

Tales From The Dark Part 1

A two-part Hong Kong horror feature adapted from a group of stories by Lilian Lee. Fruit Chan, Lee Chi Ngai, Lawrence Lau, Teddy Robin, Gordon Chan and actor Simon Yam direct a story each for this chilling omnibus.

Language: Mandarin
Subtitle: English / Chinese
Classification: PG13
Release Date: 18 Jul 2013
Genre: Horror
Running Time: 1 Hour 51 Minutes
Distributor: CATHAY-KERIS FILMS, ENCORE FILMS
Cast: Simon Yam, Kelly Chen, Maggie Shiu Mei Kei, Yuen Qiu, Josephine Koo, Tony Leung Ka-Fai
Director: Fruit Chan, Lee Chi-ngai, Lawrence Lau, Teddy Robin, Gordon Chan, Simon Yam
Format: 2D

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Review
Writer: Jillian Cheong

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Watch this if you liked: "The Eye", "The Child’s Eye" and "Hong Kong Ghost Stories"

This movie takes on a very similar path as "Hong Kong Ghost Stories" in that it will also be featured as a two-part film. In this film, we see three out of the six segments that is adapted from stories written by Hong Kong author Lillian Lee. Many of Lee's stories have been adapted into movies such as "Rouge" (1987), "Fight And Love With A Terracotta" (1989), "Farewell My Concubine" (1993) and "Green Snake" (1993).

The first segment of the film, "Stolen Goods", shows a side of the country that is hardly featured in mainstream Hong Kong movies; poverty. In reality, poverty in Hong Kong is actually a huge crisis as the poor are forced to live in metal cages. In the film, we see Simon Yam as a mentally unstable guy who lives in what he calls a "coffin house" since it is so small. His tough and masculine onscreen persona that we are attuned to is now a much weaker character. As the opening story for a horror film, it lacks the scare factor as it tries hard to build suspense on something that is not even scary. The mismatch between the scary sound effects and the scenes did not have much of an impact on the audience.

In the second segment we see a more comedic approach towards horror. Directed by Lee Chi Ngai, "A Word In The Palm" features fortune telling, which is a practice commonly seen in Chinese culture. The Sherlock Holmes-esque story focuses on fortune teller (Tony Leung Ka-fai) and modern day crystal vendor (Kelly Chen) as they solve the mystery of a teenage girl (Cherry Ngan) who commits suicide due to her affair with her swimming coach. In this light-hearted segment, Chen's character Lan is a happy-go-lucky person who tends to get a little too excited at the thought of solving the mystery. As for Leung, he embodied a fortune teller perfectly as he is able to conduct himself well even in the wackiest situations.

The last segment, "Jing Zhe", sheds light on another popular business in Hong Kong which is "villain hitting". "Jing Zhe", which literally means "awakening of insects", is the date on the Chinese calendar where the practice is most effective. The short centres on an elderly woman (Siu Yam Yam) who practices the folk sorcery of hitting villains under the Canal Road Flyover, a popular location for the ceremony to be carried out. However, an unexpected turn of events happens after she meets a ghostly young woman (Dada Chan). At first the elderly woman refuses to take her request as she was about to call it a night, but the eerie aura around the young woman makes her quickly change her mind. As the ghost starts taking out her rage and sadness on the sheets of paper, the story starts to unfold with the old woman slowly realizing who those four paper representations of people are supposed to be. As Chan's rookie attempt in a horror flick, she did fairly well portraying an emotionally disturbed ghost.

As a horror film, it was enjoyable but did not have the scare factor that the reviewer expected. Nonetheless, this movie teaches us all valuable lessons when you least expect it. "Tales Of The Dark Part 2" will be feature an additional three stories and here's hoping that it would fare much better.

Cinema Online, 11 July 2013
   
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Classification
Effective 15 July 2011
G - Suitable for all ages
PG - Suitable for all ages, but parents should provide guidance to their young
PG13 - Suitable for persons aged 13 and above, but parental guidance is advised for children below 13
NC16 - Suitable for persons aged 16 years and above
M18 - Suitable for persons aged 18 years and above
R21 - Restricted to persons aged 21 and above only
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