Site Features
- Asian Film Awards
- Site Recommendations

- Reader Poll Results

- The Sponsor Page
- The FAQ Page
 
support this site by shopping at
Click to visit YesAsia.com
Asian Blu-ray discs at YesAsia.com
 
 
 
 
 
Visible Secret 2
    

Cherrie Ying, Eason Chan and Jo Koo in Visible Secret 2 (2002).
Year: 2002
Director: Abe Kwong Man-Wai
Producer: Ann Hui On-Wah
Writer: Abe Kwong Man-Wai, Lau Ho-Leung, Wong Chi-Fai
Cast: Eason Chan Yik-Shun, Jo Koo, Cherrie Ying Choi-Yi, Roger Kwok Chun-On, Maria Chen, David Lee Wai-Seung, Hung Chiu-Fung, Sheila Chan Suk-Lan, Sylvia Lai, Law Lan, Joe Cheung Tung-Cho, Joe Cheng Cho
The Skinny: Abe Kwong's follow-up to Ann Hui's atmospheric Visible Secret is a well-executed, if not too slight horror exercise. The film has enough creepy pacing and cool plot twists to keep it involving and suspenseful, but it doesn't elicit enough emotion to make it as gripping or as haunting as The Eye. The film will never be called a classic, but it's way above average for a Hong Kong horror effort.
Review
by Kozo:

     In the absence of their old standby genres (wuxias, action epics), HK has come through with urban romances and horror flicks. Unlike the first Visible Secret film, this sequel does not have a renowned international director like Ann Hui to handle things. Hui produces this one, while screenwriter and horror veteran Abe Kwong takes over the directorial duties. The film itself has zero relation to the previous film, but the same themes of past transgressions and ghost-seeing return full force.
     Eason Chan plays Jack Kwok, an unemployed writer who has the lucky fortune to marry the lovely Ching (Jo Koo). The newlyweds move into a new apartment, but alas the apartment seems to be cursed. Jack gets smacked by a car soon after they move in. He goes into a coma, but a miraculous recovery occurs. Still, Jack begins having visions of death around the house. Also, other "poltergeist" type deals start happening, i.e. lights suddenly going out, weird noises, and mysterious women appearing in red clothing. Even worse, Ching has begun to act strangely. She begins watching static on television, or wandering the apartment in a daze. She also buys a mysterious red oil paper umbrella with a matching pair of sandals. Yes, it's all quite suspicious.
     Jack relays his suspicions to Ching, but she thinks he might be "troubled." Luckily, September (Cherrie Ying) shows up. And old female friend of Jack's, she's returned from America to celebrate Jack's birthday. However, since Jack is preoccupied with Ching's strange behavior, September joins him on a fact-finding hunt. What they find isn't too comforting, as it seems that Ching may have more than a few secrets from her new husband. Then she starts dressing up like a ghost, which is a sure tip off that something bad is about to happen.
     The story that Abe Kwong and his co-writers have created is surprisingly effective, as it plays off the uncertain emotions of a newlywed couple. The horror stuff could be seen as metaphorical mumbo-jumbo for the insecurity and trust that plagues even the most blessed of unions. On the other hand, it could also be just that: horror stuff. Kwong loads the film with intriguing details that keep the audience involved, but not all of them have meaning. There are far too many red herrings that keep the audience guessing, and not all of them are relevant to the story at hand. The ambiguity adds to the mystery, but it also smacks of narrative laziness. If everything seems creepy and off-kilter then the audience is bound to be unnerved. However, if audience distraction is the main goal, then what Kwong and co. have done is called "yanking your chain."
     Visible Secret 2 simply isn't as accomplished or engaging as its predecessor. Aside from the distracting details, there's also the film's tone. The first film possessed a darkly funny edge that made the characters more real, and the film more involving. Visible Secret 2 is straight placid horror, with lots of slow creeping around and mildly disturbing imagery. It works in a "Twilight Zone" episode-of-the-week type deal, but it doesn't qualify as a gripping experience like the superior The Eye. The resulting film can certainly entertain and interest, but it just doesn't unnerve you like the best horror films should.
     However, there are some positives which make the film more than an average effort. The production design and cinematography (by Lee Ping-Bing) are superlative, and the performers do a good job with the material. When reined in, Eason Chan can be an effective everyman, as he's not afraid to show the weaker aspects of his characters. Cherrie Ying has a refreshing screen presence, and Jo Koo (who was cut from the first Visible Secret) provides the necessary opacity for Ching. Visible Secret 2 may lack haunting emotion, but it does possess enough quiet suspense and atmospheric detail to involve and intrigue. And despite some predictability, the ultimate twists and turns of the plot are revealed in a satisfying manner. Hong Kong horror has seen better, but this respectful, atmospheric exercise does its job well enough. (Kozo 2002)

Availability: Megastar/Media Asia DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese & Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1
Removable English & Chinese Subtitles
Various Extras

image courtesy of Mega Star Video Distribution, Ltd.

   
 
 
LoveHKFilm.com Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen