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Month of Horror 2015: World Edition – Taiwan: Silk (Gui si)

Editor’s Note: These posts originally appeared starting here on the AV Club *stares off wistfully*. They are being reposted for completionist sake as this annual series continued onto the AVCAD and now here. Also, forgive the writing for I was younger and dumber and these were written to appear in comments so don’t include pictures and are far shorter and less thorough than the series is now. They have been preserved as they were.

Month of Horror: World Edition
10/06/2015 – Taiwan: Silk (Gui si) (2006)
Directed by Su Chao-Bin

My familiarity with Taiwanese cinema is basically confined to Ang Lee so I guess that is greater than Argentina if still rather narrow. While suffering brief bursts in popularity, and changing of trends from Japanese to Taiwanese to Mandarin with the changing status of the island, Taiwanese cinema has generally been overshadowed by that of other films of the region most notably those coming out of Hong Kong. Like Argentina, the lack of any real defining horror movies forced a bit of guesswork and led to the selection of Silk which is unintentionally (though unsurprising considering how popular the ghost story is in Asian horror cinema) the 4th consecutive movie involving ghosts.

Thankfully this time there are no hamfisted political statements to be had and we are back in the realm of horror, albeit with a healthy dose of sci-fi. The sci-fi though is full of nonsensical technobabble, entertaining nonsense, but nonsense none the less. I seriously question the sanity of anybody who can find any logic in this film, but who cares, it’s at least a different approach to the typical ghost film and I highly doubt anybody making this movie actually believes in any of it. I’m still not sure if the writer actually had a complicated mythology in his head for tying together the levitating cubes, silk strands and sprays full of microscopic cube structures that only he could understand or if they were just making it up as they go along throwing vague science-y explanations at any problem that arises.

The film shares Ringu’s obsession with weird facial expressions, particularly from the dying/dead which never fails to be hilarious to me. The main character so rarely changes his facial expression or tone of voice in an attempt to convey, I don’t know something human I guess, let’s go with cynicism. I’m not sure what the team leader was going for, but the strange swoops and zooms of the camera especially on him were gleefully bizarre. The special effects were questionable to say the least, but what can you expect from a low budget mid-00s movie and they merely added to the charm of the movie. Ending the movie with SPOILERS it’s not hate it’s love (especially since the hate theme was the one thing constantly distracting from the sciencing and general sci-fi horror) is hardly any more original than The Appeared final moments, but my mood going into that was much more positive and I found myself much more forgiving of it END OF SPOILERSSilk is hardly going to be anyone’s idea of a great movie, but it does combine enough effective horror to complement its enjoyably bad moments.

Up Next: Kiah Roache-Turner’s Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead representing Australia.

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