Re-Cycle

Re-Cycle

Yes, it`s brown trouser time again with the latest film from the Pang brothers, the thai directors responsible for horror classic The Eye (and its subsequent sequels). The film seems to tick the same old boxes as most asian horror films of recent years, yet it also promises something a bit more.

DVD Details >>

The Film

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Arthur has a soft spot for The Eye, the first major horror film by the Pang brothers. It was scary as shit and had one fantastic scene that made Arthur jump but took his breath away at the same time; he literally couldn`t breathe for several seconds until the scary stuff had gone away. That`s how good it was. Plus one of the directors is called Oxide Pang which has to be the coolest name Arthur has ever heard; if Arthur had to change his name by deed poll, Oxide Pang would be right at the top of his list (The other brother is called Danny which, quite frankly, is a bit dull).

Re-Cycle is about an author, Ting-Yin who, fresh from the success of her recent books about love and other such sloppy romantic nonsesne, decides her next book will be a supernatural affair called Re-Cycle. However once she starts writing, strange things start to happen; is there a presence in her house? Where did all that long, black hair come from in her kitchen sink? Who keeps phoning her and making strange screeching, groaning, baby noises down the phone? And as if that wasn`t enough, she has to cope with her ex boyfriend who has come back to try and pick up where he left off 8 years ago. So far, this is all fairly standard asian horror fair although it is definitely well done (Arthur had to turn the lights on he was so freaked out).

But things really take a defininte turn for the surreal when one night Ting-Yin finds herelf acting out a part of the story she has just writen by wandering through her partment complex and discovering herself in an alternate world full of deacy, zombies and the usual female asian ghosts with long black hair over their faces (albeit floating zombie versions, just to add something new into the mix). And this is what makes up the bulk of the film as Ting Yin tries to work out what this strange new world is all about and how she can escape.

The main theme of the film is that the alternate world consists of all the thoughts, feelings, items, people etc. that have ever been discarded and abandonded. Whilst this is a fantastic idea and makes for some great visuals it isn`t really used as good story; the Pang brothers just use the concept as a hook from which to hang numerous different set piece scenes such as the abandonded fun fair, the forest of hanging corpses, the land of abandoned toys, the room of neverending books, the cavern of aborted foetuses(!), the list goes on and on.

Most of these scenes are well done both technically and for making a point about how people discard or forget things in their lives. But in the end that`s pretty much all the film is, a series of set piece scenes.

There is some attempt at at nartive but Arthur had worked out the plot fairly early on and he isn`t usually very good at that kind of thing! And there`s the obligatory twist/horror ending which, with a bit of thought and a quick read on the IMDB, isn`t too tricky to make sense of.

The performances in the film are all OK, but given that it is pretty much a one woman show with some supporting cast members, there`s not much to talk about. It also seems to be a film of 2 halves (or is this case one third and two thirds) as the first half hour contains most of the tense horror moments and the last hour is mainly about bizarre visual fantasy. Still, Arthur recommends seeing the film purely becasue it looks so nice and features some lovely imagery; if Arthur had to compare it to another film he would choose The Cell although thankfully this film`s star is a million miles from braindead Hollywood fashion victim J-Lo.

The DVD

The DVD is the usual Hong Kong affair featuring Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks. Picture quality is rather dark although Arthur thinks the film was meant to be like that (a lot of scenes are heavily processed to give a distinct look). There are a handful of extras on the DVD including, very unusually, an English subtitled directors commentary. For more extras there is a 2 disc set available for this film that will doubtless have documentaries and alike along with very fancy gatefold packaging which is a bit more exciting than the usual plastic case that accompanies the single disc version. The only downside is the subtitles which have clearly been done by someone who only recently got their Enlish language proficiency certificate.

In an exciting new feature, Arthur has included the trailer for Re-Cycle below, as hosted by YouTube, assuming they haven`t removed it or Arthur hasn`t screwed up his html (also requires your browser to have the Flash plugin installed).