HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Harpoon
Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, The
Dark Phoenix
No Mercy
Arctic
Fate of Lee Khan, The
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Ladyworld
Rocketman
Kid Who Would Be King, The
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound
America America
Darkest Minds, The
Along Came Jones
Hummingbird Project, The
Under the Table You Must Go
Harry Birrell Presents Films of Love and War
Hanging Tree, The
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare
Itsy Bitsy
Witchmaker, The
Prey, The
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
Happy Death Day 2U
Full Moon High
Strange But True
Kamikaze 1989
Never Grow Old
Time of Your Life, The
Mountain Men, The
Epic
Best Before Death
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Isabelle
Non-Stop New York
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood
Oblomov
Alita: Battle Angel
We the Animals
   
 
Newest Articles
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
   
 
  Any Other Side Chinese Twilight ZoneBuy this film here.
Year: 2012
Director: Fang Ya-Xi
Stars: Chrissie Chau, Van Fan, Deng Jia-Jia, Jill Hsu, Qi Yu-Wu, Huang Yida, Kingdom Yuen King-Tan, Zhao Ying Jun
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Science Fiction, Weirdo
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Five friends meet at a bar on Halloween and swap scary stories in which they each portray different characters. In "Lost" wheelchair-bound Ai Mi (lingerie model-turned-ubiquitous-film star Chrissie Chau) is trapped alone in her apartment on a dark and stormy night with the raincoat-clad killer she believes murdered her sister. Hapless cop Lee Wei (Qi Yu-Wu) struggles to save her life only to find things are not what they seem. "One Way Street" concerns journalist Dean (Taiwanese singer Van Fan), a deadbeat divorced dad coping with cute little daughter Ting Ting while mom is away on business. Driving through the ominously fog-shrouded woods, a moment's distraction leads Dean to hit a man with his car. But the body is nowhere to be found. A split-second later Dean sees that his daughter has vanished. He is waylaid by a sexy but unhelpful lady cop in a leather catsuit (Chrissie Chau) before someone drives off in his car. What the hell is going on? A perky science babe (Jill Hsu) living deep in the woods has the answer.

Which brings us to "Nurse on Duty" wherein beautiful Xiao Lu (Deng Jia-Jia) goes to work at an insane asylum where the sexy staff (including, you guessed it, Chrissie Chau) wear naughty nurse outfits more wet dream than healthcare appropriate. Slasher icons Jason Voorhees and Freddy Kruger are among the inmates on Xiao Lu's care roster, as is Michael Jackson (!) along with a guy so obsessed with deciphering Inception (2010) he believes he is reliving the movie. Spooky patient A Liang (Huang Yida) urges Xiao Lu to find out why the chief administrator mysteriously vanished, aided by stoically handsome Doctor Dean (Van Fan again) who is certain the maniacal head nurse (Kingdom Yuen King-Tan) is responsible. Things unravel into an outbreak of radio-controlled zombies, which allows MJ to recreate the Thriller video, before a mind-bending twist brings things back to the five hip young things at the bar.

Frankly they had me at Chrissie Chau and Deng Jia-Jia in naughty nurse outfits. Ahem. Horror anthologies were few and far between in Hong Kong cinema back when the genre was in its heyday in Seventies Europe, aside from the odd literary adaptation like Li Han-hsiang's prestigious erotica The Ghost Story (1978). Things picked up in the late Nineties when schlock staple Herman Yau racked up six movies in his Troublesome Night series. Lately, the horror anthology has made a comeback. Hot on the heels of Wong Jing's uneven Hong Kong Ghost Stories (2011) newcomer Fang Xa-Xi debuts with this deliriously inventive albeit sporadically hit-and-miss outing. Aspects of Any Other Side, whose Mandarin title translates as the more appropriate Nightclub Suspense Tale, will seem over-familiar to seasoned Hong Kong horror fans. These include the identity-swap sting-in-the-tail in "Lost" that evokes Oxide Pang's psychological thriller Diary (2007) and the film's mind-bending post-modern denouement which is similar in concept to the outstanding Re-cycle (2006) co-directed with sibling Danny Pang.

Overall however, Xa-Xi pulls off a flashy but interesting exercise in style as substance. Though the tone wavers from taut suspense thriller to Ray Bradbury-esque whimsy and eventually wacky screwball comedy, sort of Hellzapoppin' with zombies, he sustains an intensely eerie atmosphere off the back of ingenious camera trickery: subliminal edits, visible scratch marks that replicate grainy VHS tape, switches from black and white to muted colour, frames that morph into manhua comic panels and the odd flourish of Mario Bava candy colours. He also draws disarmingly committed, contemplative performances from his cast of pop stars and models including Chrissie Chau who continues to prove she has more range as an actress than her background might suggest. While the framing story sets up some tangled romantic relationships, the individual segments wax lyrical about the boundaries between reality and unreality and their relation to romantic ennui in a manner that evokes the cinema of Wong Kar-Wai and Richard Linklater as much as a Pang Brothers chiller.

"Lost" wrings a few drops of solid suspense from that reliable old chestnut about the girl trapped in a house with a killer, updating the formula as the action unfolds via smartphones, laptops and surveillance cameras. It builds to an effective denouement in the style of Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected with a closing reference to Psycho (1960), but the stand-out tale is "One-Way Street." Trapping its flawed hero in a nightmarish temporal loop, this mind-bending time travel story is dreamlike and unsettling but with a playful sense of humour. It is an unexpected charmer. By contrast, "Nurse on Duty" is thoroughly ridiculous and nonsensical only good-naturedly so, provided you are in the right frame of mind. Imagine The Kingdom (1994) re-interpreted by the creative team behind Airplane (1980) although certain elements suggest Fang Xa-Xi might have a passing familiarity with cult British comedy-horror series Garth Marenghi's Darkplace. Ominous cinematography ensures this looks as great as the other segments and plays its suspense elements largely straight save for that irresistible homage to Thriller complete with Vincent Price's cackle. Full of movie in-jokes the action only gets nutty with zombies on the rampage, a trio of would-be superheroes styling themselves after Marvel Comics characters, Chau slinging ninja syringes from her garter, and Jia-Jia's hapless heroine wielding a giant syringe-shaped laser cannon to the theme from A Better Tomorrow (1986). Sure, on one level it's a poser horror flick that is not as clever as it thinks it is, but is lively and fun plus, hey, Chrissie Chau in a naughty nurse outfit. Come on.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1464 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: