Inner Senses

Starring: Leslie Cheung and Karena Lam
Tartan Asia Extreme
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 18
Available 13 November 2006

Jim Law, a young and respected doctor of psychiatry gives a lecture to students of psychology on the subject of ghosts, explaining that they are merely the accumulated knowledge our brains have been receptive to since birth from our parents and society in general. Our anxieties given form in our mind's eye. Shortly afterward a colleague sends a young woman, Yan Cheung, to him, who says she keeps seeing ghosts. Catching sight of scars on her wrist, he believes she is in a vulnerable mental state. Although she insists she is telling the truth, Jim deduces that she is repressing something important. All the attention is on Yan Cheung, but as their friends and colleagues soon discover, Jim has worse problems of his own...

Near the beginning there are instances when you think this Catonese language film with English subtitles is going to be a poor copy of The Sixth Sense - particularly when Yan Cheung hides under a table when a ghost appears.

The over-friendly landlord of her rented room has lost his wife and young son to a landslide and, fully realising they are dead, waits for them to come home.

Just when you think the main plot is going to centre on the fact that Yan Cheung keeps seeing the man's lost ones, it takes a completely new direction. Jim Law sees the newspapers taped across every reflective surface and helps her to remember what has affected her for so many years.

Once she is "cured" and it's ethically viable for him to see her privately, it is Jim who begins to have problems. He is physically attacked by an elderly couple in public, he begins to see a ghost of his own who follows him all over town (and not just at night), and he suffers nightly bouts of somnambulism.

So there's plenty going on. The reason for Jim's problems are known well before the end, but then there is the added plot conflict of how to stop it. The effects are simple but, well... effective, especially when a mirrored corridor produces dozens of the same ghost which then crowd in on him. The faces behind the medicine cabinet are also pretty spooky, because they are not lingered upon.

The acting is solid and convincing; the two main characters come across especially powerfully. Leslie Cheung, who played Jim Law, was apparently one of Asia's biggest stars. He committed suicide shortly after the making of this film. Whatever his reasons were, Inner Senses exists as a fitting epitaph to his acting prowess.

This is an excellent movie which incorporates horror jolts, good use of sound in 5.1, a mini mystery, happy and sad (and even melancholy) moods which tug insistently on your sympathy strings. Special features are a Trailer and a Behind the Scenes featurette (only 11 minutes). Don't let this lack of extras put you off, because Inner Senses will appeal to mainstream film audiences and horror fans alike.

Ty Power

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