The brothers Pang have made it to Hollywood. Although their "The Messengers" wasn't a great success, American producers gave them a credit of doubt. Now they are working on the adaptation of a comic series "The Darkness" and on filming their own short story entitled "Bangkok Dangerous". Before this era, the siblings produced many of horror flicks in Asia. They are best known for "The Eye", but their most appreciated movie was "Abnormal beauty". In Poland, IDG released a high budget production that is said to be one of their best movies.
"Gwai wik" tells a story of Tsui Ting-Yin. She is a successful young novelist, who concerns the theme of love in most of her books. Her next novel is suppose to change the genre into a thriller with supernatural elements. Having problems with writing something logical, Tsui finds out that there are strange things happening in her apartment. Soon, she figures that everything she wrote exists in reality. She goes to the basement and unexpectedly enters a gloomy and dark world.
Brothers Pang's "Re-Cycle" is a combination of two different types of films. The first one is a typical Asian horror flick with black-haired dead girls hiding in the corners of the house and bearing some terrible secrets. This suspenseful part creates an atmosphere of terror and also involves the main character's personal problems. The author is visited by her ex-husband, who left her 8 years ago and wants to come back. This serves as a great introduction to the second part, where the Pangs are playing Guilermo del Torro in "Pan's Labyrinth". All of a sudden, a change of worlds occurs, which results in a slight alternation in the genre. The creators bring us an amazing imaginary scenery that is a blending of Silent Hill's murk, the grotesque of Alice from Wonderland and wonderful picturesque landscapes from "Lord of the Rings". It creates a breathtaking atmosphere, which allures and makes you want to watch until the end.
Although the first positive impressions, if we look later on this alternative world, we will see that it lacks something. The "undead" that are shown there are produced in a very modest manner and may make some people laugh. Still, while I was watching "Re-Cycle" I find most of the scenes full of suspense. The chasings, the runaways, the rain of suicides, the scene on the bridge - all of this is a great study of fear in the "underworld". What is more, the Pangs leave lots of symbolic elements in it to your personal analysis. I won't spoil you the surprise, but I think you'd find it satisfying and terrifying at one time.
The one thing that can really dissatisfy you is the melancholically approached and (into some extent) predictable ending. Asians are known for combining "family values" into horror flicks (just look at "The Ring") and the Pangs are more or less doing the same. It leaves you with an ambivalent feeling of a happy ending (a wink to the Hollywood style of movies) and a disappointment of such a down-to-earth result.
According to Variety, "Gwai wik" is one of the Pang's greatest movie. It is hard to disagree with that statement. Its attractive world and startling metaphors will make you so involved in the flick that the only feeling you will get during the credits will be a regret of such a short visit in the sibling's vision of the "ghost world". Highly recommended!