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December 1, 2011

Movie Review: Haunted Changi (2010, Seminal Films)

Directed by Andrew Lau
Starring~ Farid Azlam, Sheena Chung, Audi Khalis
Plot~ A group of local paranormal investigators/filmmakers begin exploring the famously haunted Changi Hospital in Singapore in the hopes of recording real paranormal phenomena. They interview locals looking for insight into the hospitals history and one of the investigators becomes obsessed with finding a Chinese girl supposedly living in the ruins of the hospital, on the run from her pimp. They start their investigation alongside another group of ghost hunters but quickly find themselves alone, the others packing their shit and splitting after the first sign of something weird going down. They spend the rest of the night filming various shadow creatures and ghostly samurai wielding soldiers.

Buy Haunted Changi on DVD

The following day they meet up and find that one of them is physically ill and he tells a tale of going into the tunnels beneath the hospital and finding the Chinese girl, interviewing her and apparently getting lucky with her as well. They return to the hospital and he returns to the tunnels getting hopelessly lost in pursuit of her. He does get found, unfortunately its by an angry spirit who beats the living snot out of him. One of the investigators, for whatever reason finds a samurai sword and chops off the head of one of his friends. The movie ends with the footage of the Chinese girls interview, which reveals the investigator was interviewing an empty chair, thus implying that he had in fact spoke with and actually fucked a ghost.

Now I will be the first to admit, I've always kind of had a thing for these “recovered footage” films.The Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield, Quarantine, Paranormal Activity, all fun films, all with memorably creepy and sometimes even truly horrifying moments in them. The moments we are hoping for when we shell out our hard earned money on a movie. Unfortunately Haunted Changi is somewhere near the bottom of my list of faves in the category. The film starts out with a solid 10 minutes of montage on the history of the hospital. The girlfriend thought we were watching The History Channel.....not good. (and no offense to The History Channel) For a movie that is only 79 minutes long, that's just too much wasted time for my taste.
Other then a few shadows on the walls there were no effects whatsoever to speak of. The filming location had great potential but was pretty much wasted. I just kept waiting for the movie to get out of first gear but it never did. What I assumed might be a horror movie was in fact more of a slow thriller that never got up to speed. They could have achieved an entirely different outcome with even a few cheap in-your-face moments that lend themselves well to these kind of movies. But alas, we were denied. The actor's English was tough to understand a lot of the time and I would have preferred subtitles over the language barrier. The lone bright spot in this movie was Sheena Chung. No, she's not a particularly fantastic actress, but she is smoking hot. And as hot as she was it wasn't enough to save this one for me, and neither was the score, which was decent in a nice trippy kind of way.

NOTE TO DIRECTOR: Next time don't try to play it so understated, we WANT you to throw the kitchen sink at us when it comes to getting scared. Kids may find this one scary but I didn't feel it. Extras~ The DVD comes with a theatrical trailer, some archival footage of Singapore during World War 2 (wtf was that about?), a film crew blog archive and the first 3 chapters of Sheena's book, What Happened To The Crew Of Haunted Changi.

4 out of 10

Reviewed by Kenny B

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