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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Seventh Moon (2009)

Western culture and Eastern culture.  Belief and disbelief.  The living and the dead.  These are often some of the themes used in the entertainment industry.  Sometimes to educate us, sometimes to amuse us... and sometimes to scare us.

Melissa and Yul have gone to Hong Kong for their honeymoon, taking part in the "Hungry Ghost" festival.  They learn that it believed that only by offering a living animal will the dead be appeased when they roam during the full moon of the seventh lunar month.  This is a lesson that may just cost them their lives... and their souls...

"Seventh Moon" was directed by Eduardo Sanchez- who brought us "The Blair Witch Project".  While I wasn't too keen on that movie, I was happier with this outing.  While there is still some disorienting camera wobbling and spinning, it is at a more tolerable level in this movie. In fact, there is some pretty decent camera work done in this movie.  One particular scene that showed style was the nicely hypnotic love scene in the house by the graveyard.  I was impressed by the artistic flair shown.  I also liked the use of the cell phone light in the cave tunnel sequences- created a good claustrophobic, closed in feeling that enhanced the tension greatly.

The three primary characters were very well done.  Not only did I come to like them, but I felt that their reactions were pretty realistic and logical given the situation they found themselves in.  Amy Smart was great as Melissa, and I felt for her as the story progressed.  I also really liked Tim Chiou as her husband, Yul.  He brought a nice touch of humour to the character in addition to strength.  The scene in the cave of the dead really stood out for me in regards to feeling for the character.  Ping, played by Dennis Chan wasn't in the movie a lot, but I felt that he did a good job of the role.

I was also really impressed by the effects in this movie.  Rather than using CGI like many movies, Sanchez went with a more practical method of portraying the dead: paint a bunch of naked guys grey, and let them run around in the bamboo and tall grass.  The make-up was just fantastic.  Just loved it- mad props to Mike Elizalde and Cass McClure for the work they did making the dead look creepy and  unearthly.

The story itself is fairly simple, and gives ample room for scares.  The pace is tight and moves pretty quickly.  I found it hard to believe that this movie was 87 minutes.  "Seventh Moon" isn't bogged down by unnecessary dialogue, or backstory.  You don't need to know more about the guy Melissa and Yul hit with their car, and you aren't told more.  The movie focuses on what was important: two people who find themselves outside at night on the ONE night they shouldn't have been roaming around.  Some movies would explore the mythology that this movie is based on, but this movie doesn't do that.  It gives you the essential belief and leaves it at that.  That's something that many movies now could learn from this movie.

I found "Seventh Moon" to be a quick, enjoyable dose of scares that I would pop into the machine again- especially as part of a horror night featuring movies based on myths and legends.  I'm going to put this movie in "The Good".


  1. Great review. This movie was a lot more enjoyable than I thought it would be at first.

    1. I was pleasantly surprised by this movie, since I've seen quite a few released through Lion's Gate and the Ghost House Underground label... and found many of them to be clunkers. I wasn't expecting much, and found a nice treat.

  2. Solid, solid flick! But I like Sanchez's Altered even more. And no shaky cam at all, for those who don't dig such things. Nice to see him progress as a film maker.

    1. I wouldn't mind giving "Altered" a look. I was especially impressed by how little "fat" there was to the story. No lengthy lengthy explanation of the mythology used, or history of the characters. Very well focused in my opinion.