Thursday, May 7, 2015

Feng Shui 2 Review

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: More hapless victims fall prey to the cursed bagua and the evil spirit that resides within.

Review: After much prodding (a lot coming from yours truly), and ten long years of waiting, we finally get a "Feng Shui 2." But was it worth the wait? Ehh...yes and no. While the production value is up, and there are a lot of cool ideas added, the story is weaker and the scares are few and far between compared to part one. I will say this, however, it appears they did listen to feedback regarding the original and attempted to rectify those errors. Unfortunately, they introduced a lot of filler material that hurt the final product. The real deciding factor as to whether this would surpass the first film or fall short came down to the ending. They blew it.

As for what worked: you will immediately notice an increase in quality toward the technical aspects. I did like that shitty grain to the footage in the first film, but it certainly helps to have polished material. The best aspect added to the story was the notion that the evil ghost is working toward a goal--an ill-defined goal, but a goal nonetheless. This idea presents itself whereby the owners of the bagua are slowly bringing the Chinese zodiac to completion. Meaning, every owner in the past has symbolized one character of the zodiac; currently, the last owners represent the final characters. I like to believe that the goal was for the spirit to be released from the bagua, but the film didn't really explain what would happen once all 12 signs had been killed off. Although it's not properly executed, I did like the idea that the power of the bagua had been strengthened in the sequel after a relative of the main ghost was added to the list of victims; in essence, the mirror could now grant double the luck but double the death. Another improvement was in regard to dropping the cheating husband plot line; I've grown so wary of the subject in Filipino horror! The ghosts look decent enough, and there was an amazing moment when there's supposed to be hundreds at once (every victim the bagua had ever taken). I just wish there was a tad more effort toward the scares. This isn't to say there weren't any, as a few were pretty good, but the first film had the pacing better.

As for where the film falters: obviously the most glaring problem was the abrupt and anticlimactic ending. It's funny, even Joy, who is played once more by Kris Aquino, simply says something along the lines of "maybe it's over." Maybe, baby?! That's not how you end a horror movie. Imagine at the end of "The Exorcist" they're just like "ehh, maybe the demon is out of Regan." Hell, even a final zinger would have been preferable. Speaking of Joy, however, her apparent death at the end of the first film is glossed over as it's never explained how she survived yet lost control of the bagua. Beyond that, the deaths, and how they correspond to the victim's zodiac sign, felt way too forced this time around. I mean, the first film already pushed the plausibility and this one was hardly trying. For example, one chick getting electrocuted when there's a dragon statue nearby? Weak. It may be a nitpick, but I really loved the ominous music from the first movie and that's nonexistent this time around. Lastly, there were a lot of filler plot lines that came off as padding by the end. You have the main guy's girlfriend, that chick who dropped her wallet, the guy who pops up with a magic book, etc. If you're setting up "Feng Shui 3," then, by all means, tie this all together. In the meantime, these scenes play like nonsense, and you're like "what the fuck was that all about?"

Overall, this is about on par with what I expected from a sequel. The film is certainly entertaining and tries to keep the action going nonstop. It has its cornball moments and wasn't nearly as scary as the original, but it makes up for that with a cool twist regarding the ghost trying to bring the zodiac cycle to a close. If you enjoyed the first film, I don't see any reason why you wouldn't like this one as well. I should also mention that, even though it's been ten years, the continuity feels tight which is quite the accomplishment. The ending may be lackluster, but let's hope that is only to set up a third entry. Now, if we can only get a "Sukob 2" I'm set!

Notable Moment: When they see all the ghosts trapped inside the bagua at once. We needed a lot more of this action.

Final Rating: 6/10

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