Where Got Ghost? (2009)






THE SCOOP

Director:  Jack Neo & Boris Boo
Cast:  Jack Neo, Mark Lee, Henry Thia, Marcus Chin
Plot:  Three separate short stories on supernatural sightings, retribution, and reconciliation.


Genre:  Comedy / Horror
Awards:  -
Runtime:  106min
Rating:  PG for disturbing scenes and coarse language.

IN RETROSPECT (Spoilers: NO)
Jack Neo and co-director Boris Boo team up to direct Where Got Ghost?, a local horror-comedy broken up into three unlinked parts. And just like my reviews for 4Bia (2008) and Tokyo! (2008), I will devote one paragraph to each short story. 

As a whole, the film is nowhere near the passing grade, and its existence is a reminder to everyone that Singapore’s most popular filmmaker can be appallingly inconsistent as well. Boo is a newcomer, so I will spare him the embarrassment. But Neo has been in cinema for more than a decade and it is obvious that he has not come-of-age. And probably never will.

'Roadside Got Ghost' is easily the weakest of the trio. A crafty swindler and his two workers devise a scheme to get rich but end up suffering from supernatural retribution. The story is executed with unclear focus; it is neither scary nor funny. Most of the ‘laughs’ are forced out through the coarse use of dialect, and they come out hollow and fake. 

The story is uninteresting and this makes it difficult for viewers to enjoy what is being shown. The final straw comes at the end when the moral of the story is revealed to us (and this is, gasp!, repeated for the next two shorts), as if we are five-year olds in need of an educative lesson.

'Forest Got Ghost' has enough originality to its premise and is perhaps the most funny of the trio. Two reservist soldiers in a topography exercise get lost in the woods and see apparitions. Jokes aplenty including a side-splitting one about a compass and several jump scares as well fill this short. 

The decent chemistry between the two leads proves to be rather successful in terms of audience engagement and how it relates to National Service men and their ghost stories. It ends in an unsettling note which I embrace more than I dislike.

'House Got Ghost' is fundamentally a short extension from Neo’s previous film, Money No Enough 2 (2008). The cast is reprised and the story unfolds around the avenues a dead mother uses to haunt her sons. Tension is built, but not quite substantially. The humor is mostly recycled from its source but it is relevant in its context and thus still able to generate some laughs. 

CGI is used sparingly (read: thankfully) in the first two shorts but almost in its full ‘glory’ here. For more than five minutes, viewers have the chance to cringe at the quality of CG technology employed. I cannot imagining myself cringing that long, but I did.


GRADE: F (3.5/10 or 1.5 stars)






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