Tales from the Dark (Part 2) 奇幻夜 II (2013) – Hong Kong

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA FIPRESCI
Review Date: 24th September 2013

Starring: Gordon Lam, Fala Chen, Lai Hon Taz, Kelvin Kwan, Wong Ha Wai, Cheung Kwok Keung, Aliza Mo Mo, Chan Yiu Wing, Teddy Robin, Li Bi Hua, Gordon Chan, Tang Mathew
Directed by: Teddy Robin, Gordon Chan, Lawrence Lau
Released on DVD and Blu Ray from 21 September 2013.

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“Haunted Pillow” Directed by: Gordon Chan

Fala Chen steals the show in this segment of the story about a Chinese herbal medicine pillow that leads her straight back to her boyfriend (played by Gordon Lam) that she supposedly have killed. Chen with proper make up and special effects is perfect for the role of a person with mental illness as well as sleeping issues. Her sex scenes with Lam could have been more vividly depicted, but some of her senseless expressions are priceless to watch. However, the film while interesting to watch and even following through for the action that is taking place, it lacks a vital ingredient of an actual storyline. The film doesn’t make any sense what so ever and in many ways becomes a waste of Chen’s effort in actual acting. As for Gordon Lam, he is at his stoic best, but nothing is revealed about his character for the audience to understand the motives behind the good and evil appearances. There are some moments in this film that shows enough potential for a longer duration, but without a story, even veteran director Gordon Chan can do nothing to change that. (Neo 2013)

I rated it 6.5/10

“Hide And Seek” Directed by: Lawrence Lau

This is a weak installment in which it is neither scary or funny. Nothing within “Hide And Seek” is interesting, in fact, it reminds of the extremely average film “Haunted School” made by Andrew Lau, a decade ago. The premises is ordinary, the acting is largely ineffective and although the use of newcomers is always welcoming, for the case of this series, it requires a more steady head to bring out a character that the audience will relate towards and likely be frightened for. Unfortunately, this is never the case and the result is a story where ghosts appears for no reason what so ever and largely unoticed by the audience. Director Lawrence Lau is rather in-ept and fails to deliver in various situations that could have been scary. This is a clear dud and possibly the weakest point of this trilogy. (Neo 2013)

I rated it 3/10

“Black Umbrella”Directed by: Teddy Robin

This is most likely the pick of the trilogy for me and what a way to finish off “Tales from the Dark”. Director and actor Teddy Robin is pitch perfect in both his acting and directing of this segment. His appearance is that of a creepy old man with a tale behind every single one of those winkles. His walk, his stature, his hideous laugh, creepy voice, all adds to creating a wonderful atmosphere for a gore and slasher flick. Although, the film is not precisely a horror, it does adequately as a gory film that shows enough blood and violence to satisfy most genre fans. The film is also well-paced, well shot and as far as finishing off a film, Teddy Robin impresses by storming to the finish line with a hell of a bang. Aliza Mo Mo (from “Due West: A Sex Journey”) does well as the prostitute on her last legs, before an almost satisfying finish for the audience to endure. All in all, “Black Umbrella” easily comes off the best in trilogy of shorts and most probably the one with the enough potential for a feature length film. If that is the case, I certainly look forward to Teddy Robin being a even bigger monster to boot. (Neo 2013)

I rated it 8/10

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