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  Inner Senses Back To Haunt You
Year: 2002
Director: Chi-Leung Law
Stars: Leslie Cheung, Karena Lam, Maggie Poon, Waise Lee, Valerie Chow, Norman Chu, Samuel Lam, So Pik Wong, Tin Leung, Li Wen Sun, Hong Dou Liu
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Cheung Yan (Karena Lam) is looking for a new apartment, but her obvious reserve and nervousness doesn't deter her would-be landlord who enthusiastically shows her round his property. He explains that there may be short circuits, but all she need do is flick the mains switch on and off and everything should be fine. Other than that, Yan will have nothing to worry about and she accepts the apartment; but even though she has found a new place to live, something is haunting her, something which may be a product of her imagination, or something which may be supernaturally real. One man who does not believe in ghosts is Dr Jim Law (Leslie Cheung), a psychology professor at the local university, but when his paths cross with Yan's, he is plunged into unwelcome memories of his past...

Inner Senses, or Yee Do Hung Gaan as it was known in China, allows a title that echoes that of the biggest supernatural hit recent to this film, The Sixth Sense. And for its first half, the leading lady here goes through some familiar terrors, although more reminiscent in its realisation of its contemporary Japanese and South Korean horrors. While Cheung is the star, this is no wild variation of A Chinese Ghost Story or similar that he made his name with internationally, as for the most part this film takes the creepy route, with only an in-jokey nod to those works in Dr Law's opening monologue to his students, a talk which presents Law as the wise and sympathetic sceptic.

Yan has attempted suicide before thanks to being tormented by her visions, which may or may not be authentic, and so it is that she visits Dr Law to see if she can vanquish her demons. When we witness her terrorised by the spirits of her landlord's dead wife and child (killed by a landslide, he informs her over dinner in an inexplicably cheery manner), we know that such experiences are real enough to her, and she attempts suicide once more when Dr Law gives her sedatives which she overdoses on. However, Law and Yan are attracted to one another and when he makes it clear that her visions could well be explained by her resentment and abandonment fears over her parents' divorce, she seems to be cured.

But what about Law? He's starting to suffer visions himself which cannot be so easily explained. Unfortunately Inner Senses has an uncertainty of tone outside of its scare sequences, lapsing into shrill melodrama and even a bizarre comedy montage concerning Law and Yan's relationship at one point. Scripted by director Chi-Leung Law with Tung-Shing Yee from Sin Ling Yeung's story, the film gained notoriety for being the last film completed by Cheung, and appeared to ominously foreshadow the manner in which he died in real life as it all leads up to a suicide attempt from the top of a tall builiding. But you're better to forget all that while watching, as it's a very short aspect of the drama and any talk of this being a cursed film is unfair. Mainly it's a well enough crafted, sympathetic but largely unsurprising ghost story of the kind we've seen many times before and will see many times again. Music by Peter Kam.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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