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Review: The Ghost Must Be Crazy

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Described as a Hormedy (horror + comedy), “The Ghost Must Be Crazy” contains two stories – “The Day Off” by Boris Boo and “Ghost Bride” by Mark Lee.

While these two films seem innately different, they revolved around the protagonists’ willful ignorance that eventually led to their own demise.

“The Day Off” revolves around two reservists Ah Nan (John Cheng) and Ah Lei (Wang Lei) who would come up with the most ridiculous ideas to escape their annual in-camp training. Engrossed in their own prances, they were unable to recognise a real ghost and a series of strange occurrences spurned off to a worse outcome than their dreaded in-camp training.

Directed by Boris Boo, who has decades of experience in comedy and has been consistently churning out comedy movies over the past few years, the movie had some hilarious moments that overwhelmed its horror. Its subtle teasing of races and minorities leaves one more amused than offended.

The story pivots around the Platoon Commander’s (Chua Enlai) overconfidence in his ability to differentiate liars as the point of revenge. His self-centric and authoritative personality constantly creates a conflict with the other characters’ nonchalant attitude, in which the movie exploited this conflict to create a series of infuriating moments for comedic effect.

As the reservists trudged along the forest begrudgingly, the pace of the movie slows down along with them and creates an anti-climax that is essential in building suspense towards the ending. With majority of the scenes shot in night forest scenes, the dark starkly ambiance contributed to the suspense that the unknown lurks near. In line with its sudden and loud music in the name of horror, the ending was sudden as the director chose to end the story with a climax instead.

In contrast, “Ghost Bride” borders between reality and wild imagination where the horror was subtly displayed. Directed by first time director Mark Lee, “Ghost Bride” is about middle-aged Ah Hui (Henry Thia), neither rich nor lucky in love, met Ah Hai (Mark Lee) who promised him fortune and blessings from the “brothers and sisters” in hell.

While “The Day Off” uses stereotypical characters for safe and familiar jokes, the characters in “Ghost Bride” were precisely the opposite of every stereotypes known. Progressing in the opposite direction of mass stereotype, this story questions the purpose of stereotyping and the consequences it has on relationships, career and the society’s being.

In the sequence of events, Ah Hui’s weaknesses eventually led him to succumb to the devil’s pact. Beneath Ah Hui’s greed, the story showed how societal stereotypes have placed him in an unforgiving situation where he was unable to improve his life due to a lack of opportunities.

Boisterous and raw, the attempt on a more artistic visual is frail and there are remnants of Jack Neo’s usual art direction. Considering that this is Lee’s debut directorial movie, it would have been hasty to brush off his artistic attempts. In lieu of his visual directions, the actors’ performance and unexpected twists left a poignant closing to the story.

The Ghost Must Be Crazy premieres on 6 Jan 2011.

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