Thursday, June 30, 2016

Keeper of Darkness
Release Date: November 26, 2015, July 9th 2016 (NYAFF 2016)
1 hour 45 minutes
Rated: R


Song "Keeper of Darkness" sung by film star Nick Cheung:

Director: Nick Cheung
Writer: Nick Cheung (story), Sin Ling Yeung (screenplay)

Nick Cheung/Cheung Ka Fai as Fatt
Louis Cheung as Chung
Shi YanNeng as Hark
Jasmine Ho as Hark's Daughter
Sisley Choi as Zi-Ling Fong/Ling
Philip Keung as Kwon
Kuo Tsai Wai as Cherr
Karena Lam as Fatt's Mother
Ben Wong as Cherr's Boss
Elena Kong as Wife of Cherr's Boss
Review by Dante Hicks

Plot Summary
  Nick Cheung plays a streetwise exorcist who becomes an overnight sensation when his extraordinary exorcisms are recorded and go viral on the internet. However, this attracts not only the attention from the media but also creatures from the underworld.

  For those of you that have ever watched "Constantine" the film or the television series, imagine a Chinese version of John Constantine. This is that imagination come to life. Nick Cheung plays Fatt, a streetwise exorcist that helps exorcise a woman and is videoed doing so, from there the video goes viral and he gets anything from reporters to Ghosts interested in him. From there the audience is shown how a spirit is incinerating people with psychic connections and Fatt might be on the spirit's list. The cast of Fatt (Nick Cheung), Chung (Louis Cheung), Ling (Sisley Choi), and Cherr (Kuo Tsai Wai) then do everything in their power to fight this spirit named Hark (Shi Yan Neng). 

  The story is pretty basic with certain curves thrown in to inform the audience of certain things. Like how Cherr became a ghost, Why Hark is doing what he is doing, And why Fatt no matter what fights to make sure spirits don't bother humans.  It was a okay horror film, it was kind of campy at times. The special effects were pretty decent. The performances were actually great. I don't know a hell of a lot about Chinese cinema but the chemistry between Nick Cheung and Kuo Tsai Wai was amazing, they should be teaming up for more films. The story even though at times feels a bit convoluted was actually pretty good. A little too dramatic for my tastes but all in all a pretty decent horror film. 

  Now the bad, I started watching this prior to knowing anything at all about the film besides the plot summary. I noticed at times the story strayed too much from a supernatural horror at times. The heart of this film is deep down a love story, they should have put that front and center and not pandered. It was okay by horror film standards and certain plot points were interesting to know. But if this is someone's magnum opus of Chinese horror films, go find a better Chinese horror film to watch.  It was worth the time (103 minutes) but not something I'd suggest you run out to see. If you can catch it on DVD or cable, great. But as a fan of film for over 3 decades, this isn't something I personally would go running to the movie theater to see. I apologize for being very vague in this review but for those of you that love horror I don't want to spoil it for you. And one thing that I need to say, Why is it in certain Hong Kong films the lead actor sings a song for the soundtrack? My first experience with this was Jackie Chan singing on the soundtrack for "New Police Story" and now in this film, where Nick Cheung sings on the soundtrack. Not saying that either man can't sing. Actually they both impressed the hell out of me with their singing voices, but I just find it kind of weird. It's not like Tom Cruise decides to sing a professionally recorded song on his films soundtracks. But I'm straying too far from the point, This film was okay. I rate it 2 out of 5 stars. It wasn't horrible, nor was it the greatest. But I don't feel like I wasted my life watching it. It was a story about love deep down and a good one at that. Enjoy it at your discretion.
Stars: 2 stars out of 5 stars

Tagged: , , , ,