Sunday, 24 July 2011

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Twisted [Review]


Opinion: B-

A fresh change for once where we get to see a mandarin horror comedy by a filmmaker besides Jack Neo. Writer Director Chai Yee Wei's combination of horror and comedy surprisingly adds touches of mild violence unseen in previous mainstream local genre productions, which signifies a bold step towards genre maturity despite certain flaws with its screenplay. While the make-up and special effects are effective, the cast performance is somewhat underwhelming (that typically comes with fresh faces) less the likes of veterans such as Mark Lee and Zhu Mimi.


Twisted is the latest horror action comedy from Writer Director Chai Yee Wei.

The story revolves around a drug dealer who banged up a young girl, a pair of con men who wants to turn over a new leaf, and 4 cabin crews whose lives were turned upside down over a fateful night of drugs and booze. This is a story of individuals with fates intertwined and how their paths clash. A series of twisted events that is both a study on cause and effect, and how our actions affect the people around us.

Guan (starring Mark Lee) is a flashy, womanizing drug dealer. It was during one of his many flings that he’d knocked up Mimi (starring Candy Lim), who turned obsessive in getting his attention which led to a fatal end. Guan’s ruthless way unknowingly unleashed the devil in Mimi…

Through Guan, two horny cabin crew, Cavin and Randall (starring Cavin Soh, Randall Tan) got their hands on some drugs. Their game plan was to spike the drinks of their colleagues, Linda and Tracy (starring Linda Liao, Tracy Lee) during a night out at the club. Anxious to get fresh of the girls, the eager duo stumbled upon a freak accident. The incident soon snowballed and led to a series of unfortunate happenings, bringing about a display of animalistic survival instinct.

Fa (starring Zhu Mimi) and her daughter, Yi Ning (starring Joey Leong) were victims of her abusive husband. Unable to tolerate the abuse and traumas, Fa killed her husband. The vengeful spirit of her husband swiftly possessed Yi Ning to create harvoc. To save her daughter, she seeks the help of two mediums, who further complicate the issue.

Starring familiar actors from Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, this film is a collaboration of some of the best comedic and acting talents from around this region.


Twisted is a collection of three intertwined tales and the first story might have started in a bland fashion but later picked up and eventually emerged as my personal favourite among all three.

Featuring Singaporean comedian Mark Lee, he reprises his all-time favourite typecast role - a foul-mouthed obnoxious Ah-Beng (refer to Wikipedia's definition here for those who're unfamiliar with the Southeast Asian culture context) who takes his newly repaired and refurbished car out for a ride to certain misfortune.

While trying not to reveal much on the story, I can't help but feel that the role's specifically written with Mark Lee in mind. Being a character who's intended to be hilarious, Lee does offer us quite a bit of laughs towards the later half of his tale. Best of all, while very likely designed to be a hilarity trigger device, the final "mechanic warrior" outfit donned by Lee (nothing but a pair of boxers and rims with a giant spanner in hand) was simply one of a kind. The pacing of the first tale was also adequately gripping and intense, showcasing a very good example of what a local horror comedy should be like.

The second tale features younger cast members (and also more fresh faces), but it felt rather sombre and a little too underwritten. The introductory of the tale was a brief 'touch-and-go' that allowed the film to hastily hit the hotel room without further ado. Probably that's the reason why it didn't stick well with me (didn't get to gain a good grasp of the characters), although it's the one with the most violence and blood (but it's still considered mild). Understanding that this comes right after Chai's previous horror feature Blood Ties (which is a sombre horror film with blood and violence), this tale might be the least satisfying but it highlights an interesting mental note within me:

Chai fulfills this void of explicit horror genres in local cinema.


Half-expecting the third and final tale to follow suit downhill, I was proven wrong to my delight. Veteran Zhu Mimi's performance may be strong, but the hilarious Chinese medium con duo managed to share the limelight with Zhu and maintain a relatively strong screen presence. While this final tale isn't as funny and spooky as the first and isn't as violent as the second, it retains its own flavour and purpose by featuring the most amount of culture and superstition.

It is also the one that has a real ghost affair to deal with - exorcism of a vicious spirit.

While the film suffers from a few issues with its overall continuity and screenplay (i.e. the indian father and son was clearly a blatant insertion for comedy and feels forceful) that felt more like it's being approached as 3 short films rather than a feature film, the proposed message of Twisted gets through to us with intrigue. How we living beings are often the more horrible entity as compared to ghosts and spirits. The deeds performed by the living ultimately determines the amount of sin and guilt transpiring from within.

Technical brilliance in this film includes notably the editing, make-up/special effects, and music.

Twisted isn't an ideal film, but Chai has displayed certain promising traits and flair (which is applaudable these days as there's a serious lack of originality and creativity here and overseas) and I'm looking forward to see more of his future works to come.


Twisted opens 28 July 2011 Singapore. Malaysia and Taiwan release dates to be announced soon. For more details and content, do visit Twisted official site and Facebook page!

(Preview screening courtesy of Shaw SG & Omy.sg)


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