Silk – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Director

Chao Pin-Su

Cast

Chang Chen Ye Qi-Dong
Yosuke Eguchi Hashimoto
Karena Lam Wei
Barbie Hsu Su Yuen
Po-Lin Chen Ren
Chun-Ning Chang Mei

DVD Release Date: June 12, 2007
Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 108 Minutes

The Movie

Every year, more so every single day people come up with new creations that they feel may change the course of human life. Creations and inventions that can help people save on fuel, help cook their food easier, or perhaps even a proposed cure for the common cold are things that some believe will make the world a better place. Well Hashimoto is one of those that feel they can make live easier for all. He has created the Menger Sponge. It is created of live proteins from people and supposed to catch energy which would make it into an anti-gravity device. He believes the Sponge will help make situations easier where his creation is needed.

Hashimoto, a physicist, goes through trial and error like every other creator. With every great invention comes great responsibility but also a lot of trouble. He can’t quite seem to ever accomplish his goal on as large a scale as he had hoped. Hashimoto needs enough electromagnetic energy to power the Menger Sponge and get it work on a much bigger level then his prototypes but can’t find that amount of energy in the human body. After much deliberation, he realizes that ghosts carry so much electromagnetic power that they sometimes even interfere with electric devices. So capturing a ghost to power his machine is the next logical step but unbeknownst to him, not the safest one. More so his team of scientists know the dangers that lie ahead of them and are concerned, Hashimoto just doesn’t care and is willing to do anything to get a ghost.

Gathering his team together and setting out on their mission, Hashimoto realizes that he needs more help in trapping this ghost then just some scientists and assistants. There is so much that can be learned from a ghost that Hashimoto believes not only could power his Menger Sponge, but also help with many other experiments. His anxiousness grows bigger as his eyes are now set on the ghost of a child. The child’s ghost seems to be able to harness its energy while most dead spirits simply dissipate over time which makes him the perfect specimen. But Hashimoto needs help for they can not capture him alone or decipher the odd sounds coming from his mouth as he speaks.

In steps Ye Qi-Dong, a strong force on the Taiwan police force. He has great field abilities in marksmanship, the ability to read lips, and his forcefulness. Ye also has a very sick mother who is in a coma and may never be able to recover from all that ails her. Hashimoto needs Ye to capture the ghost and read what the small child’s secrets are to staying intact as an energy source. And playing to Ye’s heart about possibly being able to cure his mother, Hashimoto convinces the officer to help his team. They set out on their dangerous trek to capture a seemingly calm and friendly ghost. It isn’t long before the true natures of the child’s spirit and some of the members of the team come out and now their focus is no longer collecting scientific data but surviving.

If everything sounds a bit trite and confusing, well you’re half right. Silk is filled with just weird plot point after plot point. When you think you’re focused on what is happening in the story, then something else comes up. Hashimoto has so many different obsessions with why he wants to capture the ghost that it is rather difficult to figure out which one is his main focus. One of the team members Su Yuen seems like just a background character at first but then begins to display her true colors as she shows her love for her boss and distaste for the officer Ye.

Silk has an interesting premise when you’re able to break away from all the small sub-plots and random storylines. There are some very good scares and some nice death scenes that will have you jumping and reaching to cover your eyes, but moments later you’ll wonder which story they’re focused on again. It really is quite a shame because this is not your average Japanese horror film. Sure the ghost is still there and the gory deaths, but there is a lot more to it then. Unfortunately by trying to make it different, the filmmakers tried way too hard and ended up going over the top.

The Video

The film is shown in 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen and looks good. At times there are some extremely dark scenes which actually look shadowy helping to see what is going on. Bright colors, of which there are a good bit of them at times, look perfect and everything is sharp and crisp.

The Audio

The film is heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and actually captures the mood, when needed, quite well. The back speakers make for a great and eerie feeling all around the room while the dialogue can be heard well at all times, even though there are subtitles. Now a big problem that is not necessarily related to how the audio sounds, but the subtitles is the misspellings. A few times in the film and in a lot of the special features there are blatantly obvious misspellings and it is quite frustrating. Sometimes there is only a missing or misplaced letter, but some words are so bad that you can’t even decipher what they are in the time they are up on screen.

Special Features

The Making Of Silk – A thirty minute feature with some pretty interesting and fun stuff. I would honestly say this had to be the most enjoyable thing on the entire DVD. First the cast and crew discuss whether they personally believe in ghosts, which garners some mixed results.

Alternate Ending – This was actually the director’s original ending and it’s a good thing he went with the one in the final cut. The alternate ending is actually only an extension of the one in the film and deems rather silly and unnecessary.

Deleted Scenes – Five deleted scenes that not only were rightfully cut, but make me wonder why they were ever filmed at all. Honestly, there was no real place that they would have belonged in the film or made sense anyway.

Outtakes – Quite possibly the weirdest bunch of outtakes I’ve ever seen, and my only guess to finding the humor is that you had to be there.

Original Theatrical Trailer

TrailersDorm, The Ghost, Shutter, The Maid, Heirloom, and Natural City

The Inside Pulse

Silk is a film that steers off the usual path of J-horror while also trying to keep some of the aspects that made it so successful. Problem is, Silk also tried way too hard and actually delivers some confusion and quite a bit of annoyance rather then innovation. The special features leave little to be desired as well because they don’t add much to the overall enjoyment of the film itself or on their own. Watching the “making of” featurette actually had me hoping they were going to show a bunch of actors wandering around confused, but I wasn’t so lucky. The misspellings in the subtitles also shows me that there was not much effort into creating this DVD and it doesn’t seem as if the careful planning was there on anyone’s part. There are plenty of other Tartan releases that would be more worth your money and hell even more rental-worthy then Silk, so don’t bother with this one.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Silk
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

3
THE VIDEO

8
THE AUDIO

6
THE EXTRAS

5.5
REPLAY VALUE

2
OVERALL
3
(NOT AN AVERAGE)