Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"Xia Dao Xiao: Where got Ghost?" (2009) review

Overall verdict: 3/10

The Good: impressive acting, moral metaphors, passable attempt to poke fun at singaporean superstition.

The Bad: more silly than funny, witless humor, amateurish cinematography, poor script everything else that would normally make a movie good.

Current Availability Status: on DVDs in only certain stores like TS video and POH KIM

"Where got Ghost?" is Singaporean filmmaker Jack Neo's first attempt at the horror comedy genre. It is actually an anthology of three short cautionary tales that spoofs a number of Singaporean superstitious beliefs. In typical Jack Neo style, the jokes are lame, and the entire show is more stupid than funny. Viewers would not be laughing at the jokes but at the movie itself.

The first segment is "Roadside Got Ghost" where we follow a trio of con men who take advantage of the locals' superstitious beliefs to swindle them. Their next big scheme involves making random calls to people under the guise of a "god of fortune" promising them a lucky number that would win a cash prize at the next "4D" lottery draw. Though the scam initially works, Things take a turn for the worse when the trio start receiving mysterious calls from a ghost that they angered. The second segment is "Forest Got Ghost" where we follow two soldiers who took an ill-advised through the woods and stumbled across a mysterious house and its lone female occupant during a rain storm. The last segment is "House Got Ghost" which involves three brothers being haunted by the spirit of their dearly departed mother. They attempt to appease and then get rid of the ghost only to discover that their mother's spirit has a different agenda for their fates.

As a "horror comedy", this movie fails big time in both areas. It is neither scary nor is it funny. The only reason anyone would be laughing would be at how stupid the three stories are and at the idiotic cast of characters, each one sillier than the next. Sure there are a number of in-jokes and cheap laughs, mostly delivered in Chinese dialect but that is all they are: cheap, superficial giggle inducers with nothing really witty to set it apart from an amateur's home-videoed sitcom or a high school stage play.

Another reason why people would be laughing in the aisles would be at how terrible this movie looks. The cheesy make-up on the ghosts make them look more like clowns than ghastly apparitions. Also, the movie is plagued by some of the most laziest camera-work and effects ever seen in cinema. Discovery channel documentaries have more kinetic camera-work than this.

A good amount of CGI is used but once again, they are laughably bad. Among the CGI shots are a horrendously edited digital car crash, a cartoony looking haunted forest and the worst ever green-screened avalanche in film making history. If this is the standard that could be achieved by Singaporean CGI artists, the future is indeed bleak for them.

Though sub-standard in its execution, this movie is at least able to convey some good moral values at the end of each segment. The actors all turn in passable performances but sometimes tend to over-act and ham it up. As a whole however, "Where got Ghost" would only scare the most timid of creatures and entertain only those Singaporean heart-landers unfortunate enough to not have anything better to watch or who are so hyped up on being loyal to local filmakers and supporting Singaporean movies.

With near zero international appeal thanks to the many jokes and humor that only a local would understand, "Where got Ghost" is a disappointing entry into the long list of "hit and miss" Singaporean movies. A poorly filmed waste-of-time about stupid characters in silly situations. Then again, People love laughing at stupid things so this movie would

*****************************Review End******************

Go For it: if you need something overly stupid to laugh at.
Avoid it: ...why? as if i had not given enough reasons why you should not waste your time with this show.

Entertainment: C-
Story: D
Acting: B-
Characters: D-
Replay value: D
"Brains": D

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