May 18, 2008


I just wanted to talk a minute about the movie I watched yesterday, Gui Si or Silk.

The movie is basically a ghost story as only Asia can produce. And I do mean ASIA. This movie has about as multi-national a cast as you can expect from Taiwan (I don't know if that was a dis or not) with a Japanese guy who looks like he just walked out of some visual kei band, a Taiwanese guy, and we even brought someone from Hong Kong! AND AN AMERICAN who effectively acts as the black guy in a horror movie, i.e dies very early.

Okay, so all that aside, the movie is basically about crippled scientist Hashimoto inventing something called a Menger Sponge, a device that can both defy gravity and capture ghosts.

The Menger Sponge, you see, is a tiny cube that can expand into billions of...other tiny cubes. It can read different energy frequencies and, it's explained in the movie, ghosts are just frequency pretty much. So ghosts = energy and the Menger Sponge can capture the energy and trap the ghosts. You can spray them in your eye, on bullets, on anything they're so tiny. When used as eye drops, the MS solution lets you see the ghosts. Got it? That's how damn deep this movie is!

Hashimoto, like all good Japanese guys in horror movies, is a crazy motherfucker with a crack team of researchers (one semi-intelligent chick, one...not-so intelligent teen girl, and one air-headed guy that couldn't die fast & painfully enough) and they've captured the ghost of a little boy. Hashimoto hires Dec. Tung, the only guy in the movie with some goddamn sense (besides the ghosts, and they can't speak), to help him figure out the life of this ghost boy. Tung is hired because he is apparently, like, superhuman and can see the eye color of a Norwegian 2000 miles away running track. And he can read lips.

Hashimoto, it turns out, is pretty obsessed with figuring out where the kid died and why. And when he does, it turns out he wasn't a crazy motherfucker at all, just a fucked up one with a complex (he'd diabetic & crippled).

Tung has some mommy issues of his on, notably his mother with Lou Gehrig's disease and he just won't let her die.

This movie is a great notch above your typical ghost story as, instead of cheap thrills and ladies with long flowing black hair wanting to kill yo ass (and they do), it also focuses a lot on the science of catching the ghosts (thus the Menger Sponge) and why the ghosts linger on like they do. It is explained, that the mystery of the ghost boy is that he has not vanished basically (think "unfinished business") and ghosts are a fleeting form of energy that are supposed to vanish, as Hashimoto says "No matter how much you love the world...or how much it loves you".

The movie focuses not just on the unfinished business aspect, but what makes ghosts stay--is it out of love, as Tung believes, or out of pure hatred, like Hashimoto says? The question, like all good philosophical rumblings, isn't answered concretely in the movie. You're left to your own devices with two endings demonstrating both theories, Hashimoto's ending and Tung's.

It's one of the more enjoyable movies I've watched this week, and I've watched a bunch. It's also one of the most enjoyable Asian horror films I've seen in a while, since after watching so much of Sundance's Asia Extreme, I'm feeling...not jaded, but just tired. Cliches exist everywhere and they perpetuate (I'm looking at you, Ring series) so I shouldn't be surprised or anything.

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