The Closet 異塚 (2007) – Hong Kong

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA
Review Date: 10 August 2007
Released on DVD across Asia

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

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 are 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 Curse of Lola”. “The Closet” is really a case of where the actors outperform the actual film and script in nearly all departments. It is needless to say that Francis Ng is a good actor and 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 turns 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 the fault clearly lies in the script and the direction.

It is not a rarity that a Hong Kong thriller is being disguised as a horror. Unfortunately Hong Kong movies are no longer scary and whether or not it is actually even thrilling is also worth 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 on show. 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 say much and if not for the actors’ performances, it is highly likely that I 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 unrealistic suspense and a somewhat slightly tense final act. Still, “The Closet” is easily a failure in terms of film making, as the director rarely attempts to try anything new or creative. The sub-plot 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. (Neo 2007)

I rate it 3/10.

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