48n Hours - `This Believer' by Team `Team Last Minute'

Genre - Ghost Movie (I started asking myself why not `horror', I think they specifically want a ghost)
Heart Attack quotient - A lot of drifting and soft spooks. A little more violence would have helped
Psycological (The Ring) quotient - Maybe because of the documentary style interviewing of the wife
Greatest moment - Those underwater shots were beautiful
Worst moment - Towards the end, it was quite tiresome listening to wife who harped on monotonously, offering very little new information
Production value - I vote this to win the most `moderate production value' award. It looks decent, not cheap, not expensive, and thankfully did not shoot everything lazily within one compound

This Believer cleverly marries documentary with fiction horror with a touch of exoticism and a sense of a little personal back story. It was one of the more cohorent stories among the 14. In short, it traces the sequence of events leading to a death in a swimming pool. This is recounted interview style by the wife of the deceased. She remembers how he broke all the superstitious Chinese rules, which she believed led to his mishap in the swimming pool. These include kicking over the 7th month offerings on the roadside, lighting the cigarette using the altar flame and eating the apple offered for praying.

The documentary style always enhances the spook factor because people fear the truth. So good decision on that one. Even in the re-enacted parts, the acting was pretty natural and palatable. The exoticism is quite obviously due to the subject matter covered. It was a like rehash of `The Maid' by Kelvin Tong - the burning incense, the HDB religious activities in the void decks, the altars, the talisman. Well, perhaps a little too much exoticism. But the subtlest and yet most interesting touch was the personal touch. Sometimes behind the characters, an ao dai (Vietnamese traditional costume) wearing apparition would drift in or `dissolve in'. But moments later, it fades out. There are no direct explanations to this particular figure but it had a personal touch because it felt like it came from an actual experience or hallucination.

This Believer must be one of the few entries that did not adopt the `play for laughs' strategy and I think it worked well in this case. It did border on being mundane at certain points but on hindsight, I think it was a very thoughtful and concerted effort.

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