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Issue #121a HOME E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com BACK ISSUES August 19th, 2002

Visible Secret II
(2002; Media Asia Group / Media Asia Films / Class Limited Production)

A Masterpiece
Highly Recommended
Very Good
Marginal Recommendation
Not Recommended
Definitely Not Recommended

Cantonese: Yau ling yan gaan II: Gwai mei yan gaan
Mandarin: You ling ren jian II: Gui wei ren gian
English: Spirits Among Humans II: Ghost Flavour Among Humans

Abe Kwong Man-wai (best known for co-producing and co-writing such horror hits as THOU SHALT NOT SWEAR and THE THIRD FULL MOON) directed this mostly unrelated follow-up to last year's hit (reviewed in issue #76), with Ann Hui On-wah serving only as producer this time out. The bliss of newlyweds Jack (Eason Chan Yik-shun) and Ching (Jo Kuk Tso-lam) is dashed when the former is critically injured one evening by a hit-and-run driver. He surprises his doctors by making a swift recovery and is soon discharged from the hospital. However, Jack now finds himself plagued with an inexplicable side effect, experiencing horrific visions of a female suicide victim every time he sneezes. This and other strange occurrences leave him wondering if the apartment he and Ching recently moved into is haunted. On top of this, Ching is now behaving quite strangely, sitting immobile like a zombie and writing the character for "dead" hundreds of times on a piece of paper. Things quickly go from bad to much worse, as the girl begins displaying pronounced signs of possession. Unsure of what to do, Jack and old friend September (Cherrie Ying Choi-yi) follow Ching one day and discover that there is a great deal about her past that she has never revealed, including an old boyfriend who committed suicide.

The prior installment garnered a great deal of publicity when MTR officials objected to a poster showing Jo Kuk made up as a ghost. In deference to their complaints, Media Asia even cut the sequence in question out of the picture, though Kuk could still be seen in the trailer and on the DVD cover. While the MTR's claim that Kuk would frighten their riders sounds ludicrous, she does look eerily captivating in the make-up and Media Asia decided to go the opposite route this time by making her apparition the sequel's selling point. While not as compellingly crafted as its forerunner, this remains an accomplished production with some agreeably creepy moments and the plot twists will likely find favor with those who relished the surprises offered by the original. The story again references THE SIXTH SENSE and, like many Asian horror movies these days, there are visual nods to THE RING. Fortunately, the romance at the heart of the picture is as persuasive as that found in part 1 and Kwong makes superb use of Kuk (who can wonderfully impart both earthy beauty and otherworldly evil with only slight variations in angle and lighting) in her various close-ups. Sheila Chan Sak-lan, Roger Kwok Chun-on, and David Lee Wai-sheung also appear, and Helena Law Lan has a cameo in the role she has became famous for.

Cover art courtesy Mega Star.

Eason Chan and Jo Kuk. Image courtesy Mega Star.

Cherrie Ying and Eason Chan. Image courtesy Mega Star.
Mega Star #MS/DVD/410/HK (Hong Kong label)

Sync Sound Cantonese (Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS) and Dubbed Mandarin (Dolby Digital 5.1) Language Tracks

Optional Subtitles In English and Chinese (Traditional or Simplified)

12 Chapters Illustrated In the Menu With Stills

Enhanced for 16:9 Displays

Letterboxed (1.80:1)

Coded for ALL Regions

Macrovision Encoded

97 Minutes

Contains mild horror and mature themes

DVD menu courtesy Mega Star.

Hong Kong: IIB
Singapore: PG

The image is somewhat soft and a bit noisy in spots but blacks are deep and colors look handsome. A nicely atmospheric sound mix helps the film considerably and a DTS version has also been included for those with the appropriate decoder. Supplementary materials include the teaser and trailer (the former features the ghostly Kuk riding a bus, a shot that does not appear in the feature and was probably never intended to be included), and behind-the-scenes footage and interviews (with permanent Chinese subtitles only) needlessly split into five segments that must be accessed separately and begin with the omnipresent Media Asia logo. Abe Kwong and Ann Hui can be heard on an untranslated Cantonese commentary track and the usual bios/filmographies are also available. There is a fairly seamless layer change at 58:56 and the keep case comes packaged in a cardboard outer sleeve that features slightly different cover art.

NOTE: João Bastos wrote in to let everyone know that Mega Star has included an Easter Egg on VISIBLE SECRET II. Go to the "Extras" section and access the "Making Of and Trailers" page. While there, left click and this will highlight Jo Kuk's eyes. Press Enter and you will be treated to 16 minutes of stylish footage shot around HK, plus a couple of scenes from the movies. These are accompanied by music from the VS II soundtrack. João says that this video footage is also included on the VSII soundtrack release in the track labelled "Another Secret." Thanks for the info, João!

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