The Haunted School 校墓處 (2007) – Hong Kong
Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA
Review Date: 17 March 2007
Released on DVD across Asia
Starring: Theresa Fu, Tsui Tin Yau, Amanda Lee, Steven Cheung, Toby Leung, Don Li
Directed by: Chin Man Kei
Wholly average and hampered by a stupid twist…
Sometimes you wonder why the hell the director had to include a stupid and lame twist at the end that is so predictable. It ruins an otherwise, immensely average flick that may actually be adequate with lower expectations. The flick is cultivated by crap and almost non-existent acting from almost the entire cast. When Theresa Fu and Tsui Tin Yau are considered as the best thing in the movie, both in terms of acting and steer presence, you probably already know the type of picture you are getting. However, the poor acting is given some sort of credibility by some quality producing and out of place cinematography from a little guy named, Andrew Lau (“Infernal Affairs”). Along with director, Chin Man Kei, whose body of works includes “Sex and Zen 2” and assistant director of “Infernal Affairs 3”, making this below average script into something that is extremely adequate and borderline average to endure.
As mentioned before, the best thing in the flick is probably the slightly above average acting from Theresa Fu and Tsui Tin Yau, as both performs in a far more relax manner than the entire cast of teens. In reality, it isn’t really saying much, as Steven Cheung was plain annoying, Don Li acted like a stone forced to love and perhaps with the exception of Toby Leung, who showed some sort of promise, getting through the acting of these lads, can be quite enduring. Needless to say, Theresa is somewhat pretty and is probably given her first ever slightly juicy role that requires her to at least do some acting. Surprisingly she performs adequately without exceeding expectations and likewise, Tsui Tin Yau shows some much needed promise that is so elusive from the entire cast.
To be honest, the premise of this movie is actually pretty stupid, but as mentioned before, full credit must be given to Andrew Lau for producing a flick that actually looked like a movie. There are strikingly well produced and well-shot sequences, but sometimes it makes you wonder, whether these sort of images is served better in a better material. There aren’t any memorable scenes to mention about, but it must be commented that the lighting of the toilets does provide a pretty good backdrop. It is unfortunate that Lau and Chin both fail to captialise on that.
All in all, “The Haunted School” is not only hampered by crap acting, but also a stupid and lame twist ending that is so predictable that it is not funny or shocking at all. All it does is leaving the audience from feeling mediocre to feeling stupid. As the saying goes, if the twist is not witty or smart, it is better off not ending with one. Lau and Chin make a terrible mistake, but with that being said, they still managed to turn around a crap script into something wholly average. It isn’t a big accomplishment, but at the very least it is better than this year’s House of Invisibles by a huge margin. Still, it is without doubt an underachievement from producer Lau and director Chin, as both have done far better work. Perhaps, Chin is far more suited in movies along the calibre of “Sex and Zen 2” than the teen horror genre… (Neo 2007)
I rate it 6/10