Thursday, July 30, 2015

Film Review: Out of the Dark (1995)

Out of the Dark (Review)
China/1995
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"My face actually hurts from how much I laughed and smiled."

When spirits haunt an apartment building, Leo (Stephen Chow), an institutionalized ghostbuster, steps in to exorcise the haunting...

Out of the Dark follows Leo and his helpful plant, Ah Kwan (Karen Mok), an apartment tenant drawn to Leo, and the building's security staff. Of course, in order to really exorcise the building of malevolent spirits, Leo must train his allies in the complex art of ghostbusting. This includes conquering your fears, like the handling of timed explosives, and teaching the basic knowledge of ghosts. (Did you know ghosts are afraid of cows?) And, of course, all of this training leads up to the actual execution — absolute hilarity. The film ends on a high note — it keeps its momentum up by keeping it simple yet effective.

Out of the Dark is an uproarious horror-comedy film. It's a balanced and effective blend of quirky, black, satirical, and slapstick humor — I'd even say it's the perfect blend of said elements. There are some very black and vulgar jokes, then there are those cheesy but hilarious gags, like people flying or using a banana peel to stop someone — I loved it. It uses this variety to create a very energetic and eccentric comedy. From beginning to end, it never loses its momentum, either. My face actually hurts from how much I laughed and smiled. In fact, I don't think I stopped smiling at all. The film starts a little rough, with some weaker jokes, but as soon as Leo enters the scene, it's nonstop comedy.

Stephen Chow is hilarious in the leading role. Chow is filled with energy and charisma, you can't help but love him. The supporting cast is also strong — very quirky and humorous. Karen Mok especially matches well with Stephen Chow. The film looks great, I liked the style. The music is also great, I especially liked its use in the comedy. ("Turn that off!") The print I watched, however, had a few scenes that were missing subtitles. Director Jeffrey Lau crafts an energetic horror-comedy, capturing a wonderful tone and the zany performances perfectly. Aided by Chow, Lau also pens a wonderfully hilarious screenplay.

Overall, Out of the Dark is a masterful horror-comedy. It's darker than the usual Stephen Chow, but it's still absolutely hilarious. I laughed from beginning to end — something I rarely do with comedies nowadays. If you're looking for something funny and you love horror, I think you'll truly love and appreciate Out of the Dark.

Score: 9/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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