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Yes, I Can See Dead People
Chinese: 惡男事件 Kris Gu, Mandy Chiang, Steven Cheung
Kris Gu, Mandy Chiang, and Steven Cheung
Year: 2008
Director: David Lee Kwong-Yiu
Producer: Ivy Kong Yuk-Yee
Writer: Frankie Tam Gong-Yuen, Philip Lui Koon-Nam, Ham Chun-Yu
Cast: Steven Cheung Chi-Hung, Mandy Chiang Nga-Man, Kathy Yuen, Kris Gu Yu, Lau Kong, Amy Chum (Tam Yan-Mei), Chow Ka-Sing, Sun Limin
The Skinny: You probably expect nothing from this movie...surprise, you get more than nothing! While not a classic by any stretch, Yes, I Can See Dead People is a competent and agreeable teen horror flick. Featuring lots of scary kids.
 
Review
by Kozo:

It won't make any international waves, but Yes, I Can See Dead People is a surprisingly agreeable local entry into the teen horror genre. Steven Cheung, of the much-maligned boy band Sun Boy'z (It used to be just Boy'z, but Kenny Kwan graduated and Steven got left holding the bag - oh, you don't really care, do you?) stars as Wah Koon-Nam, a slacker who spends his time delivering food, playing his PSP, and bumming around the public housing estate where he and his family reside. Oh, one other thing: Nam sees ghosts. In a rather droll opening voiceover, Nam describes how many of his friends have died - some through glossed over suicide played for gallows humor - and finishes up his prologue by mentioning that yep, he can see ghosts. No exclamation point, no registration of alarm; just the matter-of-fact acknowledgement that he can see the undead. Steven of Boy'z: you're the man.

Nam's ghost-seeing abilities come into play when his brother Tung (Kris Gu) gets seemingly possessed after a night out at Cheung Chau. He starts acting surly and occasionally wets his pants, upsetting both his parents (Amy Chum and Sun Limin), as well as girlfriend Charlie (Mandy Chiang). Nam immediately suspects, but he has other issues on his mind, namely hot stewardess Mei Chee (Kathy Yuen), who starts to take a shine to Nam before she too begins acting mighty strange. Nam thinks that ghosts are benign, but security guard Fok (screen veteran Lau Kong) assures Nam that this isn't the case. The ghost of deranged former resident Ho Tak-Ching (Chow Ka-Sing) still roams the forbidding halls of the housing estate, and he may have a grudge or two to settle. With Fok's counsel, Nam learns that with his great ghost-seeing power comes some form of great ghost-seeing responsibility. But can he get it together in time to help his brother, his crush, plus a group of deceased kids?

Yes, I Can See Dead People would never qualify for a list of essential Hong Kong Cinema, but for what it is - would-be cheesy teen horror - it's surprisingly effective. Director Lee Kwong-Yiu gets the most from his limited budget and cast. The film's look is miles better than Dating a Vampire, despite having nearly the exact same settings, and the shock cuts and loud scares should do a decent job of keeping excitable teens on their toes. The cultural details make the film more interesting than your usual manufactured frightfest, and real effort was put into the film's sound design. The film succeeds at delivering some decent tension and surprise, not to mention a few low-key laughs. The supporting cast fares much better than the leads; Lau Kong and Amy Chum shore up the adult parts well, while the younger cast members range from passable to decent. Neither Kris Gu nor Mandy Chiang makes much of an impact, but Steven Cheung is actually quite likable as slacker-turned-ghostbuster Nam. His performance doesn't signal the arrival of a new Hong Kong leading man, but at the very least you may forget that he's a member of Boy'z. One would hope so, anyway.

Not that Yes, I Can See Dead People is the second coming of Ring, because it most definitely is not. The film is sometimes cloyingly self-referential and in-jokey, and the overuse of tried-and-true scare tactics does take its toll. Once things start getting explained, any sense of dread evaporates, and it's hard to make someone jump after the fiftieth shock scare in the last hour. Also, most of the horror images have been seen a trillion times before, plus the film eventually relies on maudlin moments and weepy devices that prove interminable rather than touching. When a film opens with a guy amusingly finding an eyeball on his shoe, it probably isn't going to be too effective at tugging your heartstrings later. Yes, I Can See Dead People doesn't convince as an emotional tale of ghostly revenge and redemption, but it's a lot better than one would expect from its immediate expectations. How many crappy Hong Kong horror films have we endured over the last 10 years, especially post-Ring? Yes, I Can See Dead People easily rates above most of the pack because it's a Hong Kong horror film that isn't that crappy. Rarity can be worth something. (Kozo 2007)

 
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Deltamac
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of EMG

   
 
 
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