Inner Senses (2002)
Yan (Karena Lam) is always moving from place to place. She is trying to run away from these horrifying visions of ghosts and the supernatural that plague her eyes. She locates to a new apartment building, but even then is haunted by inhabitants with a gloomy past; they have importance to her new place. Forced by a relative, she unenthusiastically goes to see a psychiatrist named Jim Law (Leslie Cheung). Jim discovers that Yan has had a difficult past with relationships and a rough family life; he thinks this is the source of all of her problems and haunting visions. After he teaches Yan how to face and get rid of her inner demons, Jim in fact has a frightening past coming back to break into his life. Will the devotion and help of Yan save him the same way he saved her?
Inner Senses is a great effort for the ghost story horror genre. It takes the most supreme basics of recent American phantom films (such as The Sixth Sense) and creates one hell of a creepy journey into the dominion of Hong Kong horror. This is another film that shows Asia's method for terror is entirely different from the U.S. They take a more subtle approach at their ghost tales; and most of the time it works extremely well. Not that this means you don't see the eeriness unfurl before your eyes, you certainly do. But it's the things your mind is left to visualize for yourself that make Inner Senses so successful.
Directed beautifully by Lo Chi Leung, Inner Senses gives off such a stylish ambiance. Every second, every frame of this movie is luminous. The viewer is also blessed with very artistically constructed characters, and they match the atmosphere perfectly. The landlord of Yan's new apartment is perhaps the strangest of all. After a dinner sequence between Yan and him, it is evident that he has never gotten over the anguish of his dead wife and child. As a matter of fact, he has convinced himself that they are still living; and he is eagerly awaiting their arrival back home. One way he does this is by leaving them both a pair of shoes at the entrance of his apartment. This automatically puts Yan (who is unbalanced already) in a condition of panic, running her out the door into the hallway, as far away as she can get.
As expected, Inner Senses interlaces a love story into the middle of things. The big dissimilarity here is that it isn't bothersome. This is usually the case when affection is thrown into horror films out of thin air. Actually, it's rather adorable here. Karena Lam (Yan) and Leslie Cheung (Jim Law) work so well together that it really adds a fine zing to the film. You don't know how to feel about Jim at first glance. He immediately comes off as a psychiatrist trying to get lucky with his patients. But once it's recognized that he is only a nice fellow who grows emotions for Yan, he becomes a character easy to fall in love with. As for Yan, it is fully impossible to not feel for this girl. She has without doubt had an awfully irregular life; not to mention she sees things the regular person does not. She is a total wreck. Throughout the film, she has grime underneath her fingernails, her hair falling in front of her eyes and always walks with her head downward. She is truly theatrical, in every sense of the word. This is an an exceptional high-quality performance from MTV Asia VJ, Karena Lam.
Once the tables' turn from Yan to Jim, this movie fully takes off directly into a stage of intense fright. The last forty minutes of Inner Senses gives the viewer nail-biting suspense, and shockingly good imagery. The main sprit of the film is undeniable. Every glance at her sets the hairs on the back of your neck straight up, producing an emotion of nervousness. The creepiest component from this apparition is the cause for her main motive. She will stop at no costs, and promises to haunt eternally.
Inner Senses is highly recommended to fans of The Sixth Sense, Stir of Echoes, The Others and fans of Asian ghost stories such as Ring. If those are some of your favorites, you should not be let down. This film was done especially well. Check this one out if you have the chance.