I was reading a buddy of mine’s blog (The Film Reel) and came across a review that really sparked my attention. I had no idea what Re-Cycle was about when sitting down to watch it. I read his review but skimmed over the synopsis as not to ruin much, knowing I was going to watch this one definetely. All I knew is that it was the new Pang Brothers movie and that was enough for me. The film follows Ting-yin, a novelist who decides that her latest book will be a supernatural work. Unfortunately, she finds herself unable to focus, and her life is thrown into turmoil both by the reappearance of an old boyfriend and by the fact that she starts to suspect that her apartment is haunted. So, what we have here is a young female author writing about the supernatural and all of a sudden there are strange ghostly forces in her apartment. It kept going like that for a while, and since I watched the movie alone in the middle of the night, I figured in was in for a real treat when talking about horror and scares that would do the job. Well, I was in for a treat all right, but very different from what I first had thought things would be like.
Aside from a few effective jolts, there is not too much in the way of actual horror, and as such the film works more as a journey into the unknown. The monsters and special effects are pretty scary, and the zombies are really good-looking. The Pangs switch it up a bit, however, when Ting-Yin realizes that these supernatural events are directly related to a few lines from her novel that she crumpled up and threw in the trash bin. This was a refreshing turn of events for me and I got more enjoyment out of the storyline.
Every trick in the vast Pang arsenal is pulled out to bring their nightmarish vision to life, from digital effects to large scale models and good old fashioned camera trickery, and the visuals are frequently breath taking. If you’re looking for a scare, turn your attentions elsewhere, as Re-Cycle never really brings the goods. But that’s not to say Re-cycle is particularly bad, but that it was a missed opportunity for the Pang Brothers to redefine the genre yet again given its weak script.
There is a fine line between attempting shock horror and inciting psychological horror. Re-Cycle feels more confident from the very beginning with a fantastic score and mood setting opening credits. The impact of that can’t be denied. It’s like an overture before a play. It sets a tone. A lot of people ask me, why isn’t the Grudge or the Ring being reviewed on Japan Cinema? Well, those movies suck. This is the type of film, J-horror fans will really be able to sink their teeth into. This blog is about movies I can recommend while keeping my reputation in tact. With that said, the overall style is fairly dark, maybe even slightly under-exposed even, which gets the audience ever closer to a sense of forboding evil that works very, very well.