Monday, July 11, 2016

The Tag-Along
Release Date: November 27, 2015 (Taiwan), July 3, 2016 (NYAFF 2016)
1 hour 33 minutes
Rated: R


Director: Wei-hao Cheng
Writer: Shi-Geng Jian

Tiffany Hsu Wei-ning as Yi-Chun
River Huang as Zhi-wei He
Yin-Shang Liu as Grandma
Yumi Wong as Billy
Bo-Zhou Zhang as Guard

Review by Dante Hicks

Plot Summary
 Based on true events and long-circulating urban legend in Taiwan. Wei is nowhere to be found one day before his grandma returns from her own strange missing incident. Wei's girlfriend desperately searches for his whereabouts and finds that it is the horrifying mystery of the little girl in red that has followed and haunted them all along.

  If you enjoy horror, this is a pretty good movie. It starts slow as sin in the beginning but when it picks up you are on an adventure portraying how love conquers all. It's not an original concept nor is the film unique, but at the core of the story the film is definitely something worth watching. After all it's the highest grossing horror film in all of Taiwan. 

 The story starts out with an old woman going in to the woods, then it cuts to property agent Wei (played by River Huang) oversleeping for work and being told by his Grandmother (played by Yin-Shang Liu, and referred to in the entire film as "Grandmother") to bring his new girlfriend to the house to eat dinner. From there we see Wei showing off properties while "Grandmother" goes off looking for her friend that we were originally shown in the very beginning. Wei goes to see his girlfriend, radio host Yi-Chun and surprises her with a major commitment that she originally balks at. From there Wei's grandmother goes missing and we get in to the heart of the story. Where we see Wei getting tormented by a camera that reeks of the smell of death and he eventually disappears like his grandmother and her friend before her. Yi-Chun, being in love searches for her boyfriend through countless obstacles and the audience is shown traditional horror troupes of Japanese Horror like a pale girl walking on all fours and the like. And I don't want to say any further in fears of spoiling the film, but the ending is pretty impressive. Not in an "Oh my god this is soo unique." type of way but in a you do whatever you can to save the ones you love type of way. 

  The good things in the film is the special effects in the end of the film, the cinematography and blocking of shots was quite impressive. And the performances by River Huang and Tiffany Hsu Wei-ning were very good. The concept itself being from a urban legend from Taiwan was similiar to other urban legends I've heard in the past. 

  The bad, The pacing in the begining was sooooo slow I felt I needed a walker. The constant drama made me feel like "Really?". And honestly I've had this screener for 3 weeks and I kept getting 20 minutes in and felt I had to pause the film and do anything else. Not because it was terrible mind you but the constant drama and pacing made me check out before the film got to the best part. If I was viewing this in a theater I feel I would have had a different experience but sadly all I had was a screener copy of the film and I guess adult attention deficiency disorder (aka Adult A.D.D.). 

  All in all , after forcing myself to finally finish the film it was a good horror film. Nothing I personally would rave about but if you are a fan of cinema this is something you might want to check out and see for yourself. I know having grown up on Horror films like John Carpenter's "Halloween", Wes Craven's "A Nightmare on Elm Street", and the "Friday the 13th" series this felt a bit passe. This film like I stated earlier was the highest grossing horror film in Taiwan's history of cinema. But felt like it came up short in comparison to films like "The Grudge", The original Japanese version of "The Grudge" "Ju-oh", "The Ring" films and their Japanese predecessors "Ringu". I have to rate this 2 stars due to interesting depiction of a Taiwan urban legend but nothing that made me want to own it on Blu-ray or DVD. Don't get me wrong it wasn't awful, but just felt like it would be a good cable film or rental not something I'd go out of my way to pay for a night at the cinema to watch. If you choose to watch it, the creators left it open ended so if you love it there could be a sequel. But as for myself I think I'll pass on any sequel of this film.   
Stars: 2 stars out of 5 stars

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