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The Park
Year: 2003 "No!!! I thought his hair spray was non-flammable!!"
Bobo Chan
Director: Andrew Lau Wai-Keung
Cast: Bobo Chan Man-Woon, Tiffany Lee Lung-Yi, Derek Tsang Kwok-Cheung, Cheung Wing-Hong, Edwin Siu Jing-Nam, Kara Hui Ying-Hung, Cherman Boonyasak, Matthew Paul Dean, Pubate Maganit, Chalerm Taweebot
The Skinny: Horror effort gets points for not being cuddly, but loses an equal amount for lacking creativity and being absolutely unnecessary. Some people might find this exercise in horror cliches a passable preteen frightfest. Then again, the 3-D sucks.
Review
by Kozo:
     Waif-like starlet Bobo Chan is Yen, who's distraught over the mysterious disappearance of her brother (Edwin Siu). Big bro was last seen exploring the abandoned Fantasy Park, an old amusement park which carries its share of creepy stories. Yen's mom (Kara Hui) is a Taoist exorcist who believes her son to be already dead, a belief the cops seem all too ready to share. However, Yen believes the opposite, and decides to visit the park with a bunch of friends in tow. Her hope is to find her brother and get out of there. Too bad the park is presided over by a disfigured caretaker, who issues the standard "Get out!" warning before the kids regroup and return to the park—IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT. Then they SPLIT UP to continue their search; when one of them goes missing, THEY SPLIT UP AGAIN. Then grotesque bad stuff begins to happen, which is not surprising since everyone knew going in that the park was originally built on a graveyard, which was razed to build a multicolored fun factory for the masses. Then...IT ALL GOES TO HELL.
     Infernal Affairs co-maestro Andrew Lau Wai-Keung directed The Park, which may be the biggest evidence yet that it's the other Infernal Affairs co-maestro, Alan Mak, who made those films the narrative freight trains that they were. Instead of being a compelling genre flick, The Park is a recycled package of cliches and fright tricks, and possesses zero in the way of interesting character or situation. Yes, it's dark and creepy, so what do the kids do? They enter the abandoned haunted house, which is rendered in cheapo red-and-green 3-D. The DVD includes ONE pair of 3-D glasses; obviously you were not meant to enjoy The Park with your friends. The filmmakers also forget to give their characters any crediblity. The kids neglect to stay together and generally do things that aren't the slightest bit interesting. One of the kids holds a torch for another, Yen's best pal YY (Tiffany Lee) gets freaked in silly ways, and the disfigured caretaker starts acting psycho. Also, scary clowns and pale-faced kids show up as iconic images of horror. Yawn.
     Without anything in the novelty tank, all that's left to make The Park watchable are the standard scary directorial tricks, and the park itself, which sure looks like a place that no sane person would visit in the dead of night. The familiar Scooby Doo set-up makes The Park a minor diversion—until the ending, which features Taoist shenanigans complete with a magical Polaroid camera (huh?). The ending also stretches on for eternity, and attempts emotional weight that was never earned by the screenplay, direction, or acting. Those deficiencies, as well as a lack of coherent purpose, makes The Park a misfire, but the dark tone and Bobo Chan's photogenic wailing could entertain some. For undemanding preteen dates (think eleven or twelve years of age), The Park can deliver a passably scary time. Better find some extra pairs of 3-D glasses, though. (Kozo 2004)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0NTSC
Universe Laser
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
Includes 3-D Glasses

image courtesy of www.mov3.com

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