Sunday, December 30, 2007

How To Make Jangan Pandang Belakang A Little More Bearable

KA-CHING! That's the sound the ghost in Jangan Pandang Belakang should be making. It smashed local box-office records to the cool tune of RM6 million plus. It made a lot of money in Singapore too. But is it any good? I missed it at the cinemas, but when I watched the DVD today, I couldn't help sniggering throughout. Even with that much hilarity, it couldn't beat the pure entertainment of the unintentionally funny Possessed. JPB just gets boring towards the end. Its borrowing of Ringu's template, however, is so not funny. It dupes you into believing everything's been solved. Then out comes the crawling ghost. Groan.

Here's a guide to making JPB just a tad more bearable:

1. When your fiancee seemingly commits suicide, but you and her sister discover a voicemail with her screaming in terror that something's after her, shouldn't you go to the police with the evidence, instead of trying to "get to the bottom of it" by yourself?

2. When you're suppose to be alone at home in the middle of the night, and you hear a voice say "Hey! It's me!", won't you get the hell out or grab a baseball bat, instead of asking "Who's that?" and proceeding towards the voice?

3. Pierre Andre's character comes from a traditional, old-fashioned family that lives in the village but he has a cool name like Darma?

4. Darma seems like a man of few words, but when his fiancee's sister asks "Did something happen between you and my sister?" he immediately launches into a tirade at superspeed, suddenly sounding like Speedy Gonzales on crack.

5. What does that ghostly family of three that enters the lift after Darma exits have to do with anything?

6. Are all office security guards so helpful like those public service Berhati-hati Di Jalanraya ads, even telling you "Drive carefully, and look to your left and right" before you leave?

7. Long-haired ghosts are so passe. What's worse is a ghost that does nothing but claw at the air whenever it appears. What's even worse is a ghost that claws at the air and even splits its hair with its hands (when it's not clawing) to reveal its "scary face".

8. The fiancee's sister is surprised to see the bottle with the yellow cloth tied around it when Darma shows it to her, even when she's actually seen the bottle before when her sister found it on the beach.

9. What's the point of trapping a ghost in a bottle when the ghost appears at the window IMMEDIATELY after it's bottled? And what's the point when it can still haunt people and even kill them when the cork hasn't been removed?

10. Why didn't the exorcist use the cob of corn trick in the first place and save everyone all the trouble? Darma could have been one happy guy instead of moping around unshaven, looking scarier than the ghost.

The JPB DVD has burnt-in English subtitles and poor transfer quality. Otherwise it has fairly clear audio despite some poor synchronisation in the dubbed dialogues.

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