"Say the title backwards and you'll get the idea."
In recent years the Asian Horror Movie has gotten a lot of (generally well-deserved) attention. Ever since the original "Ring" struck a chord with Horror Freekz the world over, there's been a seemingly endless parade of creepy fare from the Far East...most of which have been purchased by the Hollywood Studios so they can make their own 'better' versions. "The Park" is not one I expect to see remade any time soon.Boasting the flimsy gimmickry of a few tiresome 3-D sequences, The Park is about a young woman who, along with four idiot friends, searches through a dank and deserted old amusement park for her missing brother. Nothing at all unexpected happens. There's a whole lotta boring chit-chat, a grim-looking amusement park to act as haunted setting, a few (barely) thrilling kill scenes, and a backstory schpiel you've heard a hundred times before. (Get this: it involves video cameras and ghostly children!)
An arid, derivative and frankly boring tale from Hong Kong, The Park is proof positive that not every Asian Horror Import is up to the standards of stuff like Ring, The Eye or even the so-so experience of Ju-On: The Grudge.
The plot is one-note to the point of irritation; our heroine whines constantly about "finding brother!"; her friends are a clichιd and rather obnoxious gang of soon-to-be-corpses; the endless blind searches down long, hollow hallways grow wearisome before the flick's even half over; the resolution is as nonsensical as it is welcome. (Because resolution = ending...hopefully.)
Hoping to bring in curious fest-goers and devoted Gorehounds, director Andrew Lau opts to present a few of his 'scarier' moments through the questionable glory of 3-D technology. As is nearly always the case, the extra bells and whistles serve only to detract from the movie at hand. It's fairly difficult to get sucked into a story (particularly one this flimsy) when the words "PUT GLASSES ON" are flashed across the screen twice every 25 minutes.While it's clear that many Chinese and Japanese filmmakers have a real knack for the Creepy Stuff, that doesn't mean they're impervious to the occasional turkey or two. "The Park" is consistently dull, entirely unengaging and beholden to a dime-store gimmick that should have been retired about fifty years ago.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 San Francisco Film Festival. For more in the 2004 San Francisco Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 ScreamFest L.A. Horror Festival. For more in the 2004 ScreamFest L.A. series, click here.