DVD Shi hun

DVD Shi hun
DVD Shi hun
Run time: 111 min
Rating: 6.5
Genres: Drama
Director: Mong-Hong Chung
Writers: Mong-Hong Chung
Stars: Yu Wang, Hsiao-chuan Chang, Shiang-chyi Chen
An unsettling thriller which takes an unflinching look at demonic possession.
Country: Taiwan
Release Date: 30 August 2013 (Taiwan)


  1. A chef collapses suddenly and goes into a comatose state. He is returned to his father who lives up a mountain. Murders immediately follow.

    Soul is quite a strange movie. It's typified by a brooding atmosphere that never lets up. It's downbeat more than thrilling and that may be a challenge for some viewers. It's certainly a film that operates in a minor key and you need to be able to get into its unusual rhythms in order to be able to take anything away from it. Whatever the case, it's certainly very beautifully shot, with some great shots of the mountainous, woodland area in particular. The ambient humming soundtrack compliments the images and gave off a sort of Twin Peaks-ominous-mountain-forest vibe. It's certainly distinctive. The story-line on the other hand is slow paced, a little too slow-paced at times in all honesty. And I don't think I necessarily completely got it if I am truthful, there may have been a cultural gap here I suspect. It seemed to tap into Taiwanese ideas about the spirit world which I didn't really understand. But that's hardly the film's fault. On the other hand, the slightly surreal setting was pleasingly weird, with characters using a small monorail to ascend and descend the mountain. On the whole, an interesting, downbeat psychological drama. Not for all tastes but interesting as an example of Taiwanese cinema.

  2. I'm only reviewing this here as there are no other reviews and I'd hate a fantasy/horror lover to miss this. So please don't expect a well written review.

    No spoilers.

    Our protagonist works as a chief in the city. He collapses mysteriously at work and ends up stuck in some kind of waking coma. Baffled doctors leave him to his friends/family who take him to his father in the middle of god-only-knows-where. And then the journey begins.. With a genuine 'wait, did that just happen?' moment.

    It's a dreamy, brooding film, with a tiny cast, shot around a massively isolated and elevated farm in the middle of a wet, steamy jungle. I don't remember much about the score but the ambient jungle noises work perfectly with the mysterious, menacing and unpredictable setting. It seems like the perfect place to film such a story.

    Dialogue is at times minimal, which is going to irritate some, with a few 'just please have a conversation about what just happened' moments. And this would usually annoy me, BUT it somehow works. It slowly makes sense as you begin to understand what might be going on in the heads of the two main characters – who are coming to terms with both what's going on and the world around them. And when a third party turns up with a lot to say it's both jarring and a joy to watch.

    The actions of one of the leads is also, initially, a little hard to fathom. But considering his age, the setting and a few plot developments you should eventually swallow it. This is a completely different world we're dealing with here, and these characters have issues to say the least.

    The violence is handled well and carries the same sense of bizarre wonder the rest of the film drags along with it. One of the final scenes is genuinely tense and compelling.

    It forces you to fill in a lot of gaps as it very slowly unravels, so patience and imagination is required. It does thankfully wrap up well I thought.

    If, like me, you're on a world-wide quest to find all as many random, thought-provoking films as you can – and you're not overly critical about low budget experimentation – I recommend this. It's a dark, sometimes sleepy film that I'm glad I watched alone. It's not one for a room full of chatty people and a bottle of wine. Unless you're all wired up identically. Enjoy!

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