Saturday, January 21, 2012

Movie: Where Got Ghost? 吓到笑 (2009)

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Directed by the famous Singaporean director/producer Jack Neo, this is a movie made to explore the borders that lie between the beliefs in the supernatural world and the effects on the non-believers.
The movie was not intended to make everyone believe that the supernatural exists, but rather to create an awareness that there are certain lines to keep to toe and that respect is to be observed at all times when dealing with the unseen.

This is Jack Neo's first attempt at horror movies, and consists of three short stories depicting the different types of supernatural encounters in our daily lives.

First story: Roadside Got Ghost
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Cai is a swindler, along with his two sidekicks; Fu and Shou and they were depicted to be performing a ritual during a funeral where they were convincing the deceased's family to purchase more paper offerings to appease the wandering spirits among them, which they claimed could bring misfortune to the family. After their successful attempt at the funeral, the three returned to their house where Cai ordered Fu and Shou to get him supper and some oranges. The disgruntled duo set off to buy supper and forgot about the oranges until they were halfway home.
Lazy to make their way back to the shops, they spotted some oranges at the roadside which were actually offerings to the lost spirits.
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They hastily took the oranges, and prayed to the unseen spirits that it was not them who wanted the oranges and that they respected the spirits, but it was their leader, Cai, who insisted on having oranges and that he was not afraid of the spirits.
As they made their way back, they were unaware that they were being followed by an old lady ghost who seemed displeased with them taking her offerings.

Cai tasted the oranges and made snide remarks about how awful it tasted; much to the fury of the old lady ghost. At the same time, they were watching the TV showing the revelation of the latest lottery results and Cai came up with a new scheme to make money.
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They will make phone calls to all the numbers in the telephone directory to offer lucky numbers 0000-9999 from the God of Prosperity; to create all the different possible combinations as out of all the possible numbers, there would definitely be a few who would win the main prizes and even consolation prizes. The condition is for the winners to contribute 20% of their winnings to Cai; claiming it to be part of the donation to the God of Prosperity and threatening bad luck to those who do not do it. Their plan succeeded and soon their business grew.
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It was then that Cai received a phone call from someone who gave him a number and told him to pay commission if he wins. Cai was furious as he deemed the caller as his competitor, but he just tried his luck anyway. To his delight, he struck the lottery's first and second prize in the same draw. Happy with his wins, Cai was more complacent than ever.
A pale looking man approached Cai on the day he collected his winnings, and asked Cai to pay him his commission for his tip. Cai ignored him, and the mysterious looking man told Cai to beware that a car will knock him down. Cai was arrogant and walked to the middle of the street, showing him that no car will knock him. It was then that a car from the elevated highway above fell after overturning and hit Cai.
As he lay there dying and drenched in blood, the driver of the car emerged and it was actually the old lady ghost who warned him never to take her oranges again.
Cai was then surrounded by Fu and Shou and lots of oranges were seen to roll towards him.

2nd Story: Forest Got Ghost
Nan and Lei are two NS army reservists attending their camp training in the forest, and they were told to get to a checkpoint through the jungle. The mischievous duo who are lazy, decided to go against their officer's warning and used a shortcut through the jungle to get to the checkpoint; despite the rumors that the jungle was supposedly haunted. The duo were joking around when they realized they got lost and darkness had started to fall.
It was then that they stumbled a young woman's tomb, and they felt that they were being watched and followed. They were scared when they spotted the long-haired woman ghost dressed in red and ran away, as fast as they could, only to find that they were still unable to get out of the jungle.
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On the next morning, during the rain, Nan and Lei were still trying to find they way out, but to no avail and it was when they bumped into Yin Yin, a plump young lady, selling bottled water in the jungle, and holding an umbrella at the same time. They asked her for directions, and realized that her instructions further confused them. As it was raining, they followed Yin Yin back to her house to seek shelter for the night.
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At her house, due to their peeping tom nature, they were trying to steal a peek at Yin Yin taking a shower, and were scared out of their wits when they saw the ghost in red staring back at them and ran for their lives out of the house into the dark jungle.
As they were still trying to catch their breath, they spotted Yin Yin running after them and she told them not to be afraid as it was her and not the ghost. They were skeptical, but not wanting to be left outside in the jungle either, they followed her home and fell into her trap where they allowed her to tie them to the chairs to learn her magic tricks.
They were then hanging on a tree, while Yin Yin and the woman in red; apparently they were both ghosts, were departing happily as they have found their 'substitutes'.
After a while, the next scene depicted another batch of reservists arriving for their training and two reservists were trying to use the shortcut to reach their checkpoint, like Nan and Lei, and they got lost.
They found themselves stumbling upon Nan and Lei...

3rd Story: House Got Ghost
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This is where we see the three popular characters; played by the director Jack Neo himself, Mark Lee and Henry Thia. The third story is a sequel from the famous Money No Enough 2, where the three brothers; Bao Hui, Bao Qiang, Bao Huang are depicted in their lives after their mother's death. They gathered around their mother's altar and were praying, telling their mother about their misfortunes and how she had not been helping her own sons from the other world.
At the same time, the brothers also heard rumors about the time of their mother's death could have affected their lives in luck and finances; and that their mother's dying at night could lead to bad luck for the descendants.
The three brothers then started to experience weird happenings in their houses; and were convinced that their mother is not resting in peace.
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The younger brothers then pressured Bao Hui; the eldest brother, to bring their mother's remains in the urn to a temple to perform a ritual to appease her spirit and bless her sons. Bao Hui, reluctantly, brought her mother's urn to the temple.
However, he was surprised to find it reappearing in his car shortly after leaving the temple.
Convinced that his mother is not happy with the arrangements, he informed his brother who naturally disbelieved him.

The brothers were traveling from Malaysia for business, and on their way back, the trio were shocked to see their mother's apparition appearing in front of their car; causing Bao Huang to swerve their car immediately and the car almost fell off a cliff. The brothers escaped from the car unharmed, and were astonished to see that a landslide was happening right in front.
It was then that they realized that their mother was trying to save them from the tragedy.

My review/opinion:
As with all Jack Neo movies, each of the story contains a moral value and is set to educate the public; particularly the younger generation on the social, family, general responsibility.
It is an enjoyable, not to mention entertaining watch and I liked how each story depicted the realities of life; another specialty of Jack Neo's movies as well.
A recommended watch; it's not really to scare the daylights out of you, but more towards educating on the attitudes of the people these days.

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