Review: Greedy Ghost

If greed were truly bad, as Greedy Ghost posits in the dullest, most uninspired fashion possible, then one has to wonder what convinced the people behind this film to release it in the first place. With little reason to exist other than to fulfil a mercenary impulse, the film undermines the moral it superficially extols. Likely possessed by the titular apparition, director Boris Boo has made a film not just downright awful, but hypocritical as well.

Boo, who co-directed The Ghosts Must Be Crazy and Where Got Ghosts? returns to the usual retarded-guy shtick to concoct what must be the most inane kind of humour possible. What passes off as funny here isn’t even the kind of gross-out gags that are so ubiquitous in Singaporean productions; lowbrow humour is fine, if it is done with conviction and if the gags have a genuinely funny context or familiarity to them. Here, however, what is “hilarious” is actually contemptuous. Boo thinks Henry Thia’s character flicking and combing his sparse hair is funny. To him, a bunch of exorcists (Chua En Lai and Irene Ang make cameos here) vibrating like druggies going cold turkey somehow constitutes humour. If that is your idea of a fun time, go ahead and watch this movie.

Taiwanese star Kang Jin Rong (more affectionately known by his celebrity moniker Kang Kang) plays Lin, a down-on-his-luck mopey loser who, after miraculously spotting the winning numbers to the national lottery in a haunted book that flips its own pages, makes a contract with the spirit (voiced by Mark Lee) trapped in there. Said spirit would give Lin numbers to the Toto (our national lottery) if he agrees to the spirit’s demands (and the spirit demands his life later on). Lacking in basic common sense, Lin accepts the spirit’s terms. All hell breaks loose. Lin’s stupidity is the hinge.

Rounding up the motley crew of losers are Lin’s two grave robbing friends, Hui (Henry Thia) and Nan (Brendan Yuen) who, in the midst of their coffin-pillaging, riles up a ghost, who proceeds to haunt and harass them.

There’s some decent chemistry going on within the cast, and Jessica Liu, who plays Lin’s girlfriend, lends some much needed sanity to the proceedings, but ultimately so much about the movie is a mess that bright spots of chemistry are dwarfed by it all.

As mentioned above, the “humour” here is of the most insipid variety, and whatever pretentions to horror there are, they absolutely lack any sense of genuine shock.

Even at the end, you would expect that the characters would learn the very simple morals that the film tries to put forth – that greed is bad, and that one must lead a responsible life – but no! There is nothing in the film that steers them towards genuine revelation; when the characters agree to cease their dishonest ways, it is only done out of the self-serving motive of not wanting to be pestered by the spirits that haunt them.

Not that anything I say is going to dent this movie’s box office prospects, though; it has been reported that the film has already made a sizeable six-figure sum on its preview weekend. Maybe greed pays off after all.
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