Issue #235          HOME          E-mail:        BACK ISSUES            October 25th, 2004

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Inner Senses
(2002; Filmko Pictures)

Cantonese: Yi dou hung gaan
Mandarin: Yi do kang jian
English: Unusual Perceptions


RATING: 8/10


Plagued by horrifying visions of ghosts, pretty young translator Cheung Yan (JULY RHAPSODY's Karena Lam Kar-yan) consults psychiatrist Jim Law (Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing). Their initial appointment is a bit awkward, and not entirely rewarding, but Yan soon warms up to Jim’s obvious sincerity and tenderness. After further consultations, Jim recognizes the source of the girl's problems and eventually helps her to regain equilibrium. With Yan now no longer his patient, the two become close, but Jim's own well-being soon starts to disintegrate and he experiences the sort of inexplicable visions that previously drove Yan to attempt suicide.

Karena Lam Leslie Cheung Waise Lee

On the one hand, INNER SENSES is yet another HK horror thriller indebted to both THE SIXTH SENSE and RING. Fortunately, it is also a very well-acted and engrossing picture that leans more towards psychological than visceral thrills (though it does sport a couple of the latter that stick with you afterwards). Director Law Chi-leung (DOUBLE TAP) is able to generate and sustain a subtly creepy atmosphere and the storyline remains true to its internal logic, thankfully avoiding the temptation of excessively cheap shocks. Sadly, real-life has inadvertently heightened the film's effectiveness. The sequence wherein a ghost tries to goad Jim into leaping from the top of a building, the same method Leslie Cheung would use to end his own life a few months after the movie's release, now takes on an extra level of potency that leaves it almost heartbreaking to behold. The supporting cast includes Waise Lee Chi-hung (as a medical colleague of Jim), Valerie Chow Kar-ling, and Norman Tsui Siu-keung (sporting what could very well be the worst toupee in the annals of HK cinema). Law and Lam recently re-teamed for another thriller, KOMA (2004), which is equally effective.

Karena Lam (left), Valerie Chow Leslie Cheung Karena Lam (center)


Although it lacks anamorphic enhancement and is a bit on the dark side, the 1.80:1 presentation boasts fairly good resolution and decent hues. The original sync sound Cantonese and a Mandarin dub are included, along with optional English subtitles; the stereo mix is very directional and atmospheric (the stiff, unnatural movements of the main ghost are imaginatively communicated with a loud and unearthly sound that suggests creaking wood). The Canto track can also be monitored in DTS. A worthwhile behind-the-scenes documentary (11 minutes), filmographies for Cheung, Yam, and Law, the HK theatrical trailer, and a video promo spot make up the supplements.

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Images in this review courtesy of Tai Seng. To read captions, hover mouse over image.

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Copyright © John Charles 2000 - 2004. All Rights Reserved.

DVD Specifications

  • U.S. Release
  • NTSC Region 0
  • Tai Seng Entertainment #42014
  • Dolby Digital 5.1/DTS
  • Sync Sound Cantonese and Dubbed Mandarin Language
  • Subtitles (Optional): English
  • 14 Chapters
  • 4:3 Letterbox (1.80:1)
  • 100 Minutes

Ratings & Consumer Information

  • Germany: 16
  • Hong Kong: IIB
  • Quebec: 13+
  • Singapore: PG
  • South Korea: 12
  • Contains moderate violence and horror, and some coarse language


  • 10 A Masterpiece
  • 9 Excellent
  • 8 Highly Recommended
  • 7 Very Good
  • 6 Recommended
  • 5 Marginal Recommendation
  • 4 Not Recommended
  • 3 Poor
  • 2 Definitely Not Recommended
  • 1 Dreadful