review by Neo

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A waste of acting talents…
It is little wonder that Francis Ng is someone that looks at the pay check rather than the actual script. After all it isn’t necessary a bad thing as actors is still human beings and they need the money to meet than cost of living. Still, it isn’t the first time that Ng have ventured into some plain crap scripts, most notably being last year’s Karmic Mahjong and the year before in The Curse of Lola. The Closet is really a case of where the actors outperform the actual film in nearly all departments. It is needless to say that Francis Ng is a damn good actor and indeed he performs in his usual captivating manner. Adding to the mix is veteran Eddie Cheung, who seems to be improving as rapidly as his age and some fine moments from an almost unrecognisable Michelle Ye and a potential filled performance from newcomer Yang Zhifei. With that being said, The Closet is really a movie that wasted the talents of its available cast and for that the fault entirely lies in the script and the director.

The movie goes like this: As a child, magician Fei (Francis Ng) was violently abused by his father, and he is particularly traumatized by the memory of being locked in a closet. Haunted by his childhood nightmare, Fei almost loses his life in a dangerous magic show. His girlfriend (Daisy Yang), without knowing his history, thinks that he is just too tired and takes him to the countryside for rest. They move into a quiet house, where Fei often feels his dead father's presence...

It is not a rarity that a HK thriller is being disguised as a horror. Unfortunately HK movies are no longer scary and whether or not it is actually even thrilling is also within questioning. As mentioned before, the main reason why the current reviewer is able to sit through such a stupid movie is because of the performances of the actors. It is full credit to Francis Ng who seamlessly eases into a non-existence role with such flair and character. Likewise Eddie Cheung’s tense expressions are a joy to watch as is the moments of his fight scene with Ng beside the pool, is certainly worthy of some mentioning. While Michelle Ye performs well in some sequences as someone with some sort of mental problem, she is no longer the youthful presence that once graced the TVB screens. Perhaps she is older now, but it is unfortunate that she no longer have that spark about her anymore. Contrastingly, the presence of newcomer Yang Zhifei provides some much needed freshness and youthful beauty that enable the audience to sit through this torture slightly easier.

All in all, The Closet isn’t really a movie that is trying to do much and if not for the actors’ performances, it is highly likely that Neo would have switched off the screen without a second thought. As a result, full credit must be given to the entire cast for creating some sort of un-realistic suspense and a somewhat slightly tense final act. Still, The Closet is easily a failure in terms of filmmaking, as the director rarely attempts to try anything new or creative. The subplot of Ng and his father relationship is rarely touched upon and the result is really rather lacking and almost to the point of stupidity. It is unfortunate that the film fails to utilise the talents that it possesses, but then again, it is hard to see how they can improve upon such a lame script.

I rate it 3/10.

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Starring: Francis Ng Chun-Yu, Yang Zhifei, Eddie Cheung Siu-Fai, Michelle Ye, Zhou Ziyue, Chan Mong-Wah, Johnny Wong
Directed by: Cho Kin-Nam
Genre: Thriller/Magic

Trailer/Short Clip: