Combustible Celluloid
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With: Chang Chen, Yosuke Eguchi, Karena Lam, Barbie Su, Chen Po-lin, Chang Chun-ning, Fang Wen, Chen Kuan-po
Written by: Su Chao-Bin
Directed by: Su Chao-Bin
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: Hokkien, English, Japanese, Mandarin, with English subtitles
Running Time: 108
Date: 04/23/2007

Silk (2006)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Ghost Guards

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Filmed in Taiwan, this multi-cultural film takes the traditional movie ghost story and turns it on its translucent ear. Rather than going for the usual cheap, jump-scares (using the same stringy-haired girl ghost), it goes in, The X-Files-style, for a scientific deconstruction of ghosts.

Japanese specialist Hasimoto (Yosuke Eguchi) has developed something called the "menger sponge," which blocks and traps energy trails, including those generated by ghosts. Using it, Hashimoto and his team have captured the angry spirit of a young boy. Hashimoto hires cop Ye Chi-tung (Chang Chen, from 2046 and Three Times), with his extraordinary vision and lip-reading skills, to help discover who the boy was, how he died and why.

As the mystery is uncovered, the film slowly turns into a standard, race-against-time chase, but before then writer/director Su Chao-Bin does some remarkable things by keeping his little ghost in plain sight; he creates the kind of dead-on spectral chills that all the silly jump-scares in the world can't quite equal. Barbie Hsu co-stars as a sexy, sulky member of the scientific team. Tartan Video released the U.S. DVD, with a making-of featurette, an alternate ending, deleted scenes, outtakes and trailers.

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