Thursday, August 28, 2014

Film Review: Re-cycle (2006)

Re-cycle (Review)
China/Thailand/2006
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Prime Instant Video
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...a great horror-adventure hybrid."

Bestselling romance novelist Ting-yin (Angelica Lee) struggles to write her new book about the supernatural. As she gains traction, her book comes to life...

Re-cycle follow Ting-yin as the discarded content of her book comes to life. At first, she begins to witness odd occurrences in her home -- she sees shadow figures and finds hairs that don't belong to her. Eventually, she stumbles upon a world of abandoned ideas and people. In order to get out of this bizarre world, Ting-yin must reach the Transit, and to do so she receives help from a young companion. The ending was great; it is ambigious, so I'd say it's open to interpretation, and what from what I interpret, it's great.

Re-cycle starts off as a traditional horror film, and a very good one at that. It's loaded with great suspense, effective jump-scares, and spooky visuals. About 40 minutes in, Re-cycle becomes more of an adventure film with horror elements. It's not necessarily bad because the world we're introduced to is both refreshing and creepy -- it kind of reminded me of Silent Hill. It does mean that the film becomes less scary as the film progresses, though, and that is somewhat disappointing considering how frightening the first act is. If you're as open-minded as I am, you'll likely love the world the film builds, despite the horror imbalance.

The film's themes of abandonment were also very interesting and even some what thought-provoking. This theme blends in well with the story, it's not something that was simply tossed into the mix. It does have a few plot points regarding abortion and abandonment, but it doesn't preach. It's simply a plot point, not necessarily a commentary. If you want something that preaches, check out The Unborn Child. (that film literally ends with a PSA.)

The acting was great. Angelica Lee is a great leading lady, very charismatic and genuine. There is one scene where the acting was mediocre, though. The film looks amazing. I loved the set design for the different worlds the film goes through. The music does well blending with the film; that is, the film sounds like a horror film during the first thirty minutes and like an adventure film during the latter half. The visual effects are also great, especially for a horror film. The English subtitles for the Amazon Prime Instant Video stream are very good -- very few noticeable flaws. The Pang Brothers show great direction; the horror is very effective during the first half, the adventure is very exciting during the second half, and the film is all-around refreshing and entertaining -- what else can you ask for from a director?

Overall, Re-cycle is a great horror-adventure hybrid. The film is scary and exciting, the story is great and original, and the world is immersive. It is unfortunate that Re-cycle isn't a pure-breed horror film, though, especially considering the terrifying first act. It's an overlooked film worth watching, don't skip it.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Some disturbing visuals.

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