Visible Secret 2
Director: Kwong Man-Wai
Cast: Eason Chan, Jo Kuk, Cherrie Ying
Visible Secret 2 is a sequel to a highly praised horror film directed by Ann Hui last year, well, in fact, it is not exactly a sequel, it features a completely new story and the director is no longer the same person. What is not changed is the casting of Eason Chan as the protagonist.
The story starts out engagingly. Newlywed Jack (Eason Chan) and Ching (Jo Kuk) have moved into a new apartment. Soon after a terrible car accident happened to Jack and leaves him in a coma. A few months later, he recovers and begins to see strange things. He realizes that Ching is hiding a dark secret from him. With the help from his old friend September (Cherrie Ying), they attempt to unveil all the mystery behind...
One of the interesting takes of this film is, unlike the concrete portrayals of dead people in Inner Senses and The Eye, scary ghost is not visible at all throughout the film. Jack always sees strange people, for instance, the old woman sitting on the bench outside the building, the dancing sister in another apartment, the peeping tom, but there is no way to confirm if these people are actual ghost or not. Through the clever use of exotic composition and unobtrusive editing, the director succeeds in building up an intense and enigmatic atmosphere for the story. However, don't expect a surprising resolve at the end, it just follows the cliche of the horror genre again, nothing more nothing less.
The focus of the new Hong Kong horror genre is always the depiction of human relationships, it seems that the haunting element is not the primary interest of the filmmakers. In the previous episode, veteran director Ann Hui captured the essence of the susceptible script brilliantly and brought us an exceptionally intimate and emotional viewing experience. This time, Kwong Man Wai tried to use the same formula again. Unfortunately, his inexperience has prevented him from achieving the same result. The biggest problem of this film is that Kwong spends too much time to create the enigmatic atmosphere of the story, that a great portion of the film is sacrificed to meaningless scenes. Most of these cryptic scenes are not related to the main plot. Kwong fails to incorporate them with the story in a convincing way, which results in a very loose plot, everything simply doesn't come together and function as a whole. Having said that, there are still remarkable moments from this film, that is, the relationship between Jack and September. September is not really the pivotal figure of the story, but she is so captivating that I actually wished her character could be expanded. This role is tailored for Cherrie Ying. Her charm and lovely personality is allowed to be fully exhibited. I am certain this film would be a bigger achievement if the relationship between Jack and September could be further refined and structured. Ching is another fascinating character. Jo Kuk has the kind of face and gesture to make this character persuasive. It is her best role since her debut.
Compared to The Eye and Inner Senses, Visible Secret 2 is certainly not an excellent film. But sometimes, there are always exceptions, that is, you will like a movie merely because there is a single moment in it that is so beautiful and unforgettable. This film is definitely one of these exceptions. The misty garden scene and the ending (with Cherrie Ying) are just so passionate and exquisite that after the movie ends, the images are still revolving around on my mind for a long time.
VCD (HK version) - The image quality is not bad, it has a 16:9 letterbox transfer, while the sound quality is poor. It is hard to catch some of the dialogues since the volume is very unstable, it turns up and down intermittently for no reason.
Cool guy(s) - Cherrie Ying
Reviewed by: Kantorates