Possessed 2 (1984)
By: Mr Intolerance on April 28, 2009  | 
DVD
Fortune Star (Hong Kong). All Regions, NTSC. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). Cantonese DD 2.0, Mandarin DD 2.0. English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese Subtitles. 85 minutes
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: David Lai
Starring: Jayson Case, Mei Bo Kwong, Toby Russell, Gary Siu, Siu-fung Wong
Screenplay: John Au
Country: Hong Kong
External Links
IMDB
After having been thoroughly underwhelmed by Possessed, for some reason I found it necessary to watch Possessed 2. No, I don't know why either. Maybe I just needed a sense of closure. I didn't get it.

The film starts off with a freak-show, just to warm the cockles, or at least the sub-cockle area – unsure. A bunch of guys who look like Mattei-zombies are eating dog-meat, but apparently that's a no-no (these guys haven't been to Korea obviously), and they're busted by some folks who are about to move in, and they kind of disappear (with comedy noises to boot); the incoming folks being keen on the place. One of them is the luckless Hsiao from the first film.

So a young couple with an even younger daughter move into an apartment which has a lovely view over the cemetery – exactly the thing you want; nothing like waking up in the morning and seeing dead folks. So, instead of the first film's cop-buddy drama, here we get hysterical kitchen sink melodrama, albeit of a dispirited sort. Again, the awful subtitling really works against the film and what it is trying, I think, to do.

Seems that Hsiao has married in between films, but not happily. His pregnant wife is a contentious shrew, and expecting their second child; their daughter a precocious brat. Accordingly, he's having an affair. Hsiao's wife falls down a flight of stairs, startled by a rather mean-spirited ghostly apparition. Hsiao proves himself to be a right bastard and completely unsympathetic; his wife Macy is having further visions of weird shit – ghosts and such, frightening the hell out of their daughter Ling-Ling. I sort of get the impression that this film isn't so much a sequel, more a cash-in on the title of the original at best – there doesn't seem to be any real link between the two that I can see; even though the same lead actor is present and referred to by his name from the first film on the back cover, here he's called "Inspector Siu", rather than "Hsiao".

And I thought the first movie dawdled. Even when there is action, it's not terribly exciting – for example when Hsiao is called out to prevent some mad lady (who may well have a clue towards the mystery of Hsiao's new apartment) from jumping to her death, the scene is played for shits and giggles at best, and the direction is ponderous. What should be taut and terrifying comes off as buffoonish and clown-like; the worst kind of HK slapstick (think of the scene in Tiger on the Beat where Chow Yun Fat has to hand over his trousers to a villain – witless Benny Hill-style drivel – oh look, he's in his underpants, how amusing).

As with so many other supernatural thrillers, the spirit world makes contact with ours via children – have a look at how the ghosts aid Hsiao's daughter against bullies in a sub-plot that goes next to nowhere. And Macy seems to be changing, too – while the audience already knows that something is amiss in their apartment, obviously the director thinks that we're a pack of retards who need to have things spelled out for us.

One quite decent scare in the back of a meat wagon later, and Hsiao's calling in an exorcist and his inevitable bumbling side-kick buddy; oh yes, comedy hi-jinks continue. Me, I like my horror played straight – this just goes from annoying to even more annoying, playing for cheap yuks rather than trying to genuinely scare its audience.

Macy seems to have been, well, possessed (the clue was in the title, I guess) by the spirit of a madam whose knocking shop operated out of Hsiao's apartment, and who seems to want to get back into her old trade in the land of the living. Matter of fact, she's quite competitive and eager to regain her position of illustrious pimping – to the point where she turns up to a new brothel and tries to put the screws on the current proprietess, supernaturally (to the tune of a dreadful cover of Bachman-Turner Overdrive's "Taking Care of Business"). She's spotted and recognised for what she is by a Hare Krisna monk – just how many Krisna monks frequent brothels, I'd like to know. She lures a john, who looks like an underfed young Samuel L Jackson with an afro, to the local zoo where he tries on some of the most bizarre behaviour as a courting ritual – firstly he shoots down some birds with blow-darts he has secreted about his person (as you do), then shows her photos of himself in Africa, where he's "a real warrior", and then peels off his boot and runs a lit Zippo up and down the sole of his foot to prove that he feels no pain – I swear I'm not making this up – all the while talking and looking like the spirit of blaxploitation come to life, when he's not playing Macy's arse like a bongo or making the kind of tribal noises you did as a child playing cowboys and Indians. This is undoubtedly the silliest, and at the same time most entertaining moment of the film so far. But it does lead quite neatly to one of the few moments of straight horror the film possesses – and this is the film's shame, as when the horror is played straight, it's quite effective; the comedic element is lame to say the least.

But, oh, fuck – we're back in the apartment with Hsiao, his bumbling assistant, the exorcist (appropriately named Dick) and his bumbling assistant. Straight horror be damned, huh? Once the exorcism itself starts to take place, the slap-stick element is upped even further, annoyingly enough – this is possibly the only time in my life where I've sat through the potential for a man to get shot through the nuts without laughing. And Jesus suffering fuck – when Ling-Ling gets involved in the proceedings, I just wanted to impale my eyes on bar-be-que forks. And so just when you think we're headed for some kind of climax – you're wrong, because there must be at least fifteen fuckin' fake endings to this film. Okay, that's an exaggeration, but there are definitely at least seven (including a number of fake death scenes), and that's about the point when my eyebrow started twitching – a definite sign of annoyance – and I started envisioning doing Very Bad Things to all the motherfuckers involved in this film. I mean, how many hints does Hsiao need to leave his demonically possessed wife?!

Aww, now the writer's just fuckin' with me. The Krisna dudes turn up in what I can only describe as the Krisna-mobile, a huge semi-rig which is pretty high-tech, let me tell you and features a great big bas-relief of Ganeesh on it's arse-end – I never saw Hare Krisna monks as an ultimate crime-fighting force before – and get Hsiao to head for the cemetery to destroy once and for all (yet again) the demonic spirit possessing his wife, having now learned of the possessing spirit's heritage. Will it work? I could barely give a fuck, but watch and learn for yourselves, kids, if you feel you need to.
Video
A soft and dull image at best, with the occasional artefact. I have definitely seen much better, although much worse also.
Audio
As with Possession, the subtitling is excruciatingly bad, which, when coupled with a jarring soundtrack – muffled sound effects and music coupled with shrill, piercing voices provides the kind of audio experience you expect to find in hell.
Extra Features
Aside from the photo gallery and trailers, there's bugger all else here, dude. And the trailers are unsubtitled, which is yet another annoying thing about this release, but I suppose it's not the first time I've watched a foreign language disc where that's happened.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
The ludicrous last twenty minutes or so with the high-tech Hare Krisna strike force almost makes up for the terminally dull first hour plus of this otherwise forgettable film (I think it tries to play the same cards as Seventh Curse, but fails in doing so, badly). It plays the wacky card too early and too often to even be what you'd consider a decent horror-comedy to be. Plus, with some of the editing, I highly suspect that this version has been cut – not in the violence stakes, but elsewhere for reasons of pacing (a brief bit of research told me that it had indeed been cut by nearly 5 minutes). In any event I think that Possessed 2 is a film that you could live without seeing, I know I could have.

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