Directed by Danny & Oxide Pang. HongKong/Thailand 2006. 108 mins.

ThisLin Sinjee vehicle is a calling card for the FarEastern special effects industry, creating a persuasively dark Alice Through the Looking Glass parallel universe with shadesof Terry Gilliam, Spirited Away and What Dreams May Come.

Butthemoody fright-power of the Pang brothers' breakout hit The Eye is lackinghere, and what is left is a good-looking but ultimately fairly hollowcross-genre exercise that has more DVD potential than theatrical clout.Adventurous distributors such as Tartan (which pre-bought the film at scriptstage) will have to pitch this at niche Asian and horror fans and hope for thebest.

Theconventional opening act shows successful novelist Ting-yin (Sinjee) fielding press conference questions about theconnection between her life and work.

She'spained by the return of a lover from the distant past, and keen to get on withher new book, a supernatural yarn called Re-cycle.

But Ting-yingradually loses her cool,spooked out by an alien presence in herapartment which seems to be guiding her inspiration, or preying on it.

Deletedpassages of her novel re-emerge, and an increasingly rattled Ting-yin wonderswhether she's writing or being written.

Thepsychological tension of this section - which has the film's highestjump-in-your-seat count - seems to herald a controlled Eye-likecrescendo.

But then the film enters an entirely differentregister when a sleeping Ting-yin actually enters the fictional world that shehas created.

The effects and production design are somuscular and ravishing here that we are swept along for a while, marvelling at the dark funfair strung out between thecrumbling tenements of a ghostly, abandoned Asian metropolis, or the room oflost books, which cascade from above like falling chestnuts.

It soon becomes muddily clear that thisotherworld is the equivalent of the computer's recycle bin: a jetsam universeof discarded ideas, things and people - including a gooey red cave of aborted foetuses.

It'sa clever idea, but one that derails the film's psychic tension and converts itinto mere spectacle.

Ting-yinfinds a mysterious little girl here, and the two are required to pass varioustests on their way to the Transit, the customs post between this imagined worldand the real one. Lin Sinjee is good at looking terrified-just as well, because this is her default mode as she ricochets from onethreat to the next. But for the audience, this whole fantasy section providescar-chase thrills rather than serious horror shocks.

Withits sharp editing, washed-out colours and FX panache, Re-cycle wings it for a long while.

But evenby horror and/or fantasy standards, the story structure is frustratinglyunresolved: at some point, the brothers Pang lose sight of their initialwriters-block premise and steer the film towards a fable of maternal remorsethat would delight the Catholic Church.

A shame, because the journey itself has moments ofvisual genius. Re-cycle is a tasty but unfilling nibble thatwhets the appetite for the brothers' first English-language horror outing, TheMessengers.


UniverseEntertainment Ltd (HK)

MatchingMotion Pictures Company Ltd (Thailand)


MagicHead (Thailand)


UniverseFilms Distribution

US distributor: Image Entertainment


Danny& Oxide Pang


Sangar Chatchairungruang


Danny& Oxide Pang

PakSing Pang




Decha Srimantra


NgYuen Fai


Danny& Oxide Pang



Payont Permsith



LauSiu Ming

Zeng Qi Qi


Lawrence Chow

Jetrin Wattanasin